Editor’s note: In this piece, Charles Ibekwe ponders on the “online war”against president Muhammadu Buhari-led fight against insurgency and security threats within Nigeria. Ibekwe pointed out the cyber attack on the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai’s acquisition of two Dubai property as malicious.
He also condemned the recognition of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Niger Delta militants and the call for the release of the former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki who has been under detention since December 2015.
Lt. Gen. Buratai has worked closely with President Buhari to combat security issues
It turned out our celebration of our military trouncing Boko Haram terrorists could be short lived after all.
Ridiculously, it is not the Boko Haram affiliated militants in the Niger Delta that are cutting short our celebration- while they are hitting the nation’s economic infrastructure they are a nuisance that can be easily taken care of once that irritant called political correctness is dispensed of.
What is cutting short any notion of celebrating the degrading of Boko Haram terrorists is the fact that the same powers that placed weapons and explosives at the disposal of insurgents have opened a new front in their war against Nigeria.
They moved the war online where they battle in a campaign to brainwash the populace and pitch them against the troops that had decisively defeated there killer squads in the northeastern parts of the country.
The situation is more precarious as the terrorists in cyber space are versatile in what they do having the benefits of experts that can dispense advice hundreds of kilometers away on how to sabotage the country and its institutions.
This explains why and how these cyber insurgents have been able to easily hijack the national endorsement for the anti-corruption crusade to fight those who have the responsibility of stopping terror attacks on the ground.
To date, almost all of those that have shown commitment and dedication in fighting terrorism have become targets in a campaign to undermine their credibility with malicious claims, whip up popular sentiments to force them out of office, replace them with stooges that are sympathetic to their treasonable cause, and of course roll back the gains of the anti-terror fight.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai is just the latest in what would eventually prove to be a long list. Previous online campaigns to nail the label of genocide on him had failed just like the physical attack planned by a terror group in formation.
The anti-corruption fight as an omnibus weapon has therefore been deployed by these online fighters to achieve what other strategies failed to get for them.
There has been a delirious persistence on dragging him down even when his employer, the federal government has ruled out any wrongdoing on his part for owning property in Dubai, which he properly declared in accordance with the law.
For instance, an article by one Emmanuel Uchenna Agwu “Buratai: The Dubai Landlord and The Magic of ‘Personal Savings” pretended to be analytical but clearly failed to hide the driving force behind his mission.
He is one of the now countless terrorists recruiters that hide behind blogging and penning articles to promote hate with a view to making youths angry enough to commit crimes in furtherance of righting a perceived wrong. Such is the power of brainwashing.
Anyone in doubt should take time to find out what commonalities exist between all those that have ever vilified those entrusted with putting down insurgencies
Boko Haram members having southern sounding names or persons from the south east selling materials for explosives to the terrorists.
IPOB demanding recognition for Niger Delta militants who in turn demand the release of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), who diverted money meant for fighting Boko Haram. All the above mentioned are on the online squad that are making all the din about property in Dubai.
What is baffling however is the lack of caution and circumspection that has allowed even those regarded as enlightened in the country to be doing the dirty job for these online terrorists by lending their voices and endorsements to the attacks.
They did not stop at this as they have gone as far as dragging prestigious professional bodies into their demands for the sack of those that stand in the way of the spread of terrorism.
We must be reminded of how the abominable Boko Haram had time to grow and spread.
The terror group spread while we were all engaged in recriminations; the group tapped into piety of those that had concerns about the intrusiveness of western capitalism; it had an army of poor, uneducated and unemployed youths to recruit from; and it grew without us knowing it because we were all looking for scapegoats and politicising the issue.
The scenario is playing back all over again, the online terrorists are spreading their poison while we are engaged in vilifying those they are attacking over less than patriotic reasons; the cyberspace has a large army of disgruntled persons that have failed to identify corruption as the actual enemy.
The cyberspace has a large army of persons that are not adequately enlightened on the consequences of the hate they are spreading; and currently even those who should know better have joined in politicising issues of security without knowing that it is distracting the leadership of crucial institutions.
A factor in the degrading of Boko Haram’s capability was cessation of support from the larger populace when it finally dawned everyone that the extremist group makes no distinction between Christians, Muslims, animists or any other human affiliations or groupings.
It is the same mindset that we must adopt towards these online terrorists – they may seem to be championing anti-corruption fight today but their darker purposes would become more obvious as their plot enters its advanced stages.
Anyone in doubt should trawl back on the timelines of those vocally attacking Buratai and it will become apparent that these same ones had shared pictures of Biafra or Niger Delta flags and currencies as updates or even as display pictures. They have also mostly denounced Nigeria as a viable sovereign nation including those that professed the country to be a zoo.
These so call demands for the COAS to be accountable therefore have no bearing whatsoever with desiring transparency – which is already a given. What they are however doing is to use contrived information to stir up anger and through that recruit new dissidents to their cause, which is the end of Nigeria as we know it.
This is why we must collectively decide at this point to stop supporting these online terrorists unless of course we are also tired of Nigeria’s existence.
Charles Ibekwe a public affairs analyst writes from Enugu state.