A group, Arewa Youth Federation, has described the publication of a US- based media organisation, Wall Street Journal, that the Nigeria Air Force paid N20m as ransom to bandits in exchange for an anti-aircraft gun allegedly seized from the Nigerian Army as spurious and veiled attempt to blackmail the armed forces and fuel insecurity in the country.
The group also decried the penchant of the media outfit to continually publish falsehood against security agencies in the country in the wake of insurgency and banditry wondering if the organisation has sole competence in reporting on the side of criminal elements in Nigeria.
In a statement reacting to the report that NAF paid N20m to bandits to avoid shooting down the President and signed by the group’s President, Muhammad Matazu, it regretted that the same media outfit had in 2019 published a false claim that the Nigeria Army buried over 1000 officers killed by Boko Haram in secrete graves in Borno state.
“Our attention has been drawn to a report credited to a US media outlet noted for publishing falsehood against security operations and agencies in Nigeria. Ordinarily, we would not have bothered especially as NAF has since debunked the story as fake but for the purpose of patriotism we wish to add our voice.
“That the media organisation action finds it expedient to spill such garbage at a time the NAF has bombarded the bandits and decimate them remains curious. Clearly, this shows that the report was designed to embarrass the NAF that has been doing so well to the admiration of Nigerians and all those who desire that the sanctity of the country is retained.
“For the purpose of insights, let it be known that the NAF has continued to attack and decimate bandits in Katsina state, other parts of the North-West as well as other Theatres of Operation in the country.
“Only recent NAF recorded successes at Fakai Dutsin Anfare, an area in Jibia LGA known for its high incidences of bandits’ activities. But curiously, these excaped the lenses of Wall Street Journal.
“We therefore reiterate the call for journalists both local and foreign to always verify their stories before publishing considering the damage false information could cause to the society.
“In the same token, we also call on citizens to continue to cooperate with security agencies as efforts are ongoing to rid the entire Nation of criminals and their activities as everyone has a role to play in guaranteeing a safe country,” the statement added.