The Nigerian army has threatened to arrest and prosecute social media users and groups who share what it described as fake video clips purporting to show the attack in which over 100 of its soldiers were killed in Matele, Borno state.
In a statement, the army condemned the “myriads of photos and video clips” being shared on the internet and many social media platforms, saying the images were “doctored propaganda materials from enemies of the state”.
The army warned individuals and groups to desist from sharing the content, adding that it would arrest and prosecute offenders under the cybercrime act which forbids spreading fake news.
“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 caliber 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.
“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.
“Whilst appreciating the concerns of well-meaning Nigerians who genuinely care for the well-being of its military, the NA wants to draw the attention of its detractors to 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.
“In view of this, please note that 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. Equally, the NA wishes to inform the public of its iReport channels on the NA website, Android and iOS platforms via which the public can forward meaningful advice, criticism or observations that would enable the NA better serve the good people of Nigeria. You are to please note this and kindly disseminate through your various channels,” the statement read.