The Nigerian Army has threatened to sue individuals and groups that disseminate fake videos, stories and photos of purported Boko Haram attacks against the military in Borno State.
In a statement on its social media pages Saturday, the army decried the indiscriminate publication of and distribution of videos purportedly of the attack on soldiers in Metele village, Borno State, saying such actions were capable of undermining national security and could not be allowed to continue unchecked.
“The NA would henceforth report these infractions and file cases against individuals or groups who deliberately spread fake news that aims to undermine national security, in courts of competent jurisdictions,” the army said.
According to the army, its decision to pursue legal action against those spreading fake news about its activities is also based on “the fact that spreading of fake news is an offense and violates the provisions of Section 24(1)(a),(b) and (2)(a),(b),(c)(i),(ii) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition & Prevention etc) Act, 2015”.
The army further condemned the fact that these publications have been made despite previous warnings to the contrary.
“The NA has continued to observe with great dismay the myriads of photos and video clips being recklessly distributed on various social media platforms by different calibre of persons. It is indeed shocking to see how these well-doctored propaganda materials from enemies of the State has succeeded in creating fear and unrest in the polity.
“These doctored materials are obviously serving the purposes intended by the terrorists to misinform the populace, spread panic, hatred, religious intolerance and above all to undermine national security.”
IS-backed Boko Haram faction Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWA) had reportedly released a video and claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack, leading to a spike in search for the video.
But the army insists the videos making the rounds are fake.
“The NA wants to categorically state that the videos and images making rounds as the purported attack on Metele base are false and do not in any way portray the reality of the situation on the ground.”
“Unfortunately, many do not know that indiscretional posts and comments from a citizen that is supposed to be solidly behind its military in these trying times could have a way of dampening the morale of the troops.
“However, the NA’s resolve in protecting the territorial integrity and sanctity of the Nigerian State would not be undermined by detractors or tacit supporters of the enemies of our beloved country.”