The DefenceTimesNG has been notified of an online video footage making the rounds in the social media, with title “Bandits seize Armoured Personnel Carrier from the Nigerian Army in North West”. This video footage did not just resurface on the internet as mere coincidence but the handiwork of some unscrupulous element acting on the script of their pay masters aimed at rubbishing the entire Nigeria defence acquisition in a time Nigeria took delivery of 100 Chinese Dongfeng Mengshi (Warrior) CSK131 4×4 armoured vehicles.
The video footage is not only capable of deceiving unsuspecting members of the public into believing that Bandits and other non state actors are capable of overpowering Nigerian troops to the extent of snatching procured Amoured Personnel Carrier but a deliberate effort and typical campaign of calumny to rubbish the recent military hardware acquisition by Nigerian President aimed at equipping the military to better combat Nigeria’s numerous contemporary security challenges.
The tweet’s French caption translates to English as: “Armoured vehicles of the Malian army in the hands of the Fula Empire of Macina.” However, the author was corrected by MENASTREAM, an independent risk and research consultancy focusing on North Africa and the Sahel region.
This said footage as being recycled online is a typical campaign of calumny against our troops as Mr President is unapologetically equipping them. pic.twitter.com/ZKUw9aeu8a
— Mr Fredrick (@fredwave) November 11, 2021
It is therefore crucial to refute and properly inform the public on the said footage. titled “Bandits seize Armoured Personnel Carrier from the Nigerian Army in North West” as recycled by an online New Media platform known Standardobserve was also posted on Youtube by Jaggs Media with Title “#Boko Haram Terrorists Showcase Their Newly Acquired Armored Tank Bought To Fight Nigerian Army” on 5th Oct, 2020 with over 1,986 views on Youtube.
However, further empirical evidence from Mr Fredrick’s Fact-check revealed that both two handles that posted the video are wrong in their captions and narratives. To set the record straight, Our Fact-Check analyst matched a number — “3 1286” — seen on the side of the vehicle in the video clip to an image shared previously by MENASTREAM.
In a tweet published on September 25, 2019, MENASTREAM said militants had hijacked the vehicle from security forces in Burkina Faso on September 12, 2019, in a twin attack in Baraboulé and Nassoumbou in Soum district.
“At least four Bastions and one Otokar Cobra taken by jihadi groups in Burkina,” MENASTREAM told AFP Fact Check in March 2020.
The vehicle seen in the video is Cobra, according to its details found on the website of Turkish military vehicle manufacturer Otokar. The vehicle in the footage is part of a fleet of 24 tanks given to Burkina Faso by Qatar in May 2019.
To this effect it is clear that the incident did not happen in any part of Nigeria as claimed by mischievous elements aiming to tarnish the good image and reputation of the Nigerian Army and the military at large, in order to create mistrust in the minds of the public as well as demoralize troops fighting spirit.
The DefenceTimesNG therefore as a matter of promoting cyber security awareness wishes to implore the general public, including most social media influencers and public figures online to always make attempt to verify the content of what they share on social media especially when they tend to pose implications to national security as this will go a long way to instill a good cyber aware culture in the society.
In the same vein we want to use this opportunity to plead with President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR as a matter of urgency to unban twitter in the Nigerian Cyber Domain as most of these fake news and campaigns of calumny from fifth columnist are being sporadically disseminated via twitter. These negatives narratives most times end up trending and dominating the cyber domains of other countries like USA, UK & China etc as most Nigerians including senior government officials use Virtual Private Network to bypass country restrictions on twitter. The continuous Ban on twitter will further create bad image and perception to Nigeria in her comity of nations thereby affecting our diplomatic ties and influence with other countries.
Its preferable for these narratives be it good or bad to stay in Nigeria’s cyber domain and be handled by various government agencies and law enforcement agency as the case may be.