… ‘fifth columnists in the Armed Forces’
Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Alex Badeh, has attributed the purported rescue of some Chibok girls, later found to be a hoax and subsequently casting the army in public opprobrium, to activities of fifth columnists within its rank and file. He mentioned that and other conflicting information as the saboteurs ploys against the army.
“There was a report, which says ‘oh, we have seen some of the Chibok girls; only eight were missing. It was a very senior officer that gave that information from Chibok area… That was when people started saying ‘watch what Major-Gen. Chris Olukolade ,the Director of Defence Information, says’. He was misled by one of us,” Badeh said.
The defence chief stated that the army is dealing with the situation. “If your people are misleading you, what do you do? There are too many fifth columnists in our midst,” he said.
Badeh, who spoke in Abuja, told journalists to be guided by national interest, avoid creating unnecessary panic in course of reporting insurgents’ activities, and verify reports before publishing.
Citing a false report that his house had been burnt, Badeh said “If you know how many condolence messages I have received that my house was burnt, that my whole village had been burnt down by Boko Haram. I do not know whether it is me they want to bring down or the president that they want to bring down, that is the media for you.”
In a similar vein Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), national security adviser, asked the media to show diligence knowing the challenges the nation is faced. Dasuki said terrorism was strange to the country and cautioned insensitive news publishing and photographs by the media.