Sunday, December 5, 2021

Alleged N20m ransom to bandits: Group accuses U.S media outfit of plot to fuel insecurity in Nigeria

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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A group, Arewa Youth Federation, has rejected the report by a U.S based media organisation, Wall Street Journal, which alleged that the Nigeria Air Force had paid N20m as ransom to bandits in exchange for a seized anti-aircraft gun.

In a statement on Monday, the group’s President, Muhammad Matazu, described the report as a 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, wondering if the outfit has competence in reporting on criminal elements in the country.

Mr Matazu regretted that the same media outfit had in 2019 published a false claim that Nigerian Army had buried over 1000 officers killed by Boko Haram in secrete graves in Borno state.

He said: “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 organization 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 escaped 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.

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