The Federal Government has dismissed media reports that troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the North East were starving and poorly kitted.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the federal government’s position public at a media briefing in Abuja, on Tuesday.
He said the troops were being fed centrally, thrice daily and that it was impossible for any of them to starve, as was claimed in the report.
Mohammed urged Nigerians especially the media to appreciate the great sacrifices being made by troops at the front lines.
According to him, they deserve our praise and prayers for the wonderful work they were doing for the nation.
He said, “Recall, gentlemen, that a little over three months ago, precisely on July 11th 2018, we launched a National Campaign Against Fake News. At the launch, we said the campaign is to sensitize all Nigerians to the dangers posed to the peace and security, and indeed the corporate existence of Nigeria, by the phenomenon. We said that each and every Nigerian has a role to play in curtailing the spread of fake news.
“We also said Nigerians should not share any information they cannot verify.
“Two months and 10 days after the launch, specifically on September 21st 2018, an online publication reported alleged deplorable conditions of the troops, who are fighting Boko Haram in the North East.
“Quoting a phantom Corporal, with the pseudonym Gandoki, said to be serving with one of the Special Forces Units in the theatre of operation, the publication alleged that troops deployed in particular along Gubio Road and the Brig.-Gen. Maimalari Secondary School were begging for food to survive, were poorly kitted with some wearing slippers and were facing irregular/short payment of their allowances.
“The publication also reported non-serviceable equipment in the theatre. These allegations have grave implications for the security of the nation, hence the allegations were taken seriously by the President and Commander-in-Chief, who subsequently ordered an investigation to determine the veracity or otherwise of the claims in the publication.
“The investigation has since been concluded and, in line with the transparent stance of this Administration, I have invited you here today to share with you the outcome.
“The summary of the findings is that there is no case of hunger, starvation or begging among the troops fighting in the North East and in particular in the Armed Forces Special Forces Battalion that was referenced in the publication.”