By Anthony Kolawole
For someone who currently holds the unenviable position of Boko Haram’s most ardent propagandists, defected journalist, Ahmad Salkida, has definitely outdone himself in the desperate attempt to blow the killer group’s trumpet at a time when even the drums of war being beaten by other sponsors are falling silent. Conscious of the suspicion with which content coming from his Twitter handle, @A_Salkida, is now viewed by those that are discerning enough to know the true enemies of Nigeria, Salkida has changed his skin colour but not his character.
Salkida’s branch out from plying the poisoned chalice for which he is known for by way of mutating into the Editor-in-Chief of HumAngle (@HumAngle_), a cross between Sahara Reporters and a horror show. As far as the leanings and orientation of publications or media houses go, HumAngle could be Boko Haram’s attempt to go mainstream in its propaganda by creating a digital news outlet that has all the feel of secularity while clandestinely pursuing the fanatical and murderous agenda of Boko Haram that the world has rejected.
“Security Tracker Disputes Nigerian Military Figure On Boko Haram” is the latest salvo Salkida fired from the webpages of HumAngle. In it, he created a mash-up of manipulated facts, half-truths and patent lies. The story, with the name of a southern Nigeria slammed on it to give it a global outlook, is another of Salkida’s attempt to paint the Nigerian military in a bad light in order to cloak Boko Haram in a wrap of invincibility that it really does not possess. It is a trademark Salkida strategy, one that seems to have been developed with the active input of the third-party nations that inflicted Boko Haram on Nigeria to undermine its corporate integrity.
A first giveaway is the puny attempt to wish away the progress made by the Nigerian Army citing no other authority than the “Nigeria Security Tracker” the incestuous product of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Africa program, itself an imperialist neocon configuration that has never seen anything good on the African continent. The amount of self-hatred that drives the people running these horror shows beats the imagination, for it will take truly sick persons to enter into alliances for a character like Salkida, who has no qualms about setting his country on fire for the crumbs on offer.
Then comes the ridiculous premise that the Military had help from foreign elements in decimating hundreds of Boko Haram terrorists. It is interesting that in making the laughable claim, the report did not for once cite irrefutable evidence, publish picture or show payment records to show that foreign elements were recruited to do the job that Nigerian troops rightly did to the honour of their fatherland. Perhaps between Salkida, the Nigeria Security Tracker, and the Council on Foreign Relations, there would be a redeeming fabrication of pictures, videos or even audio recording to prove that outside forces were indeed invited to help fight Boko Haram.
Should such evidence even surface, albeit fabricated, it will expose the double standard of those behind it. They had never expressed any sustained grouse against Boko Haram’s use of foreign nationals from as far afield as the Middle East. In the instances where they mentioned foreign connections to Boko Haram, it is always done with such glee that make it obvious that it is something they found worthy of celebrating rather than condemning or galvanizing international support against. Such is the fruit of ingrained negativity.
The bile in Salkida, not different from that of his sponsor, is such that even when the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai gave a modest number of the terrorists killed within a referenced timeframe – one that was lesser than what his Nigeria Security Tracker has, he still managed to cast negativity into the headline by celebrating the “dispute” between the reported figures. So, the Nigeria Security Tracker conclude 1,596 insurgents were killed while General Buratai reported that 1,429 insurgents met their end at the hands of troops and HumAngle still came out with a bellyaching headline? There should have only been issues if the COAS had claimed killing more terrorists than the military did. By the way, the 1000 terrorists’ death in encounters with Chadian troops that the Tracker and Salkida readily celebrated is what should have given them concerns – the remains of the terrorists neutralized by the Nigerian troops were seen yet those killed by the Chadian army perhaps dissipated into dust or ashes like vampire corpses do in horror flicks.
It is laughable that in spite of the funds doled out to him in foreign currency, Salkida can come up with only an effort to establish disaffection against the army leadership was to refer to the video of soldiers allegedly cursing the army. How convenient? There have been reports of people shopping for or inciting troops to be mutinous in order for them to encourage Boko Haram commanders that their end is not nigh. The reverse is the case. at the time those trained in producing propaganda videos were filming the “cursing soldiers,” patriotic troops were dealing death to terrorists on other fronts.
Unknotting the irresponsible inferences from Salkida’s HumAngle is nothing compared to disambiguating the murderous dimension to the propaganda he is running from Boko Haram. Nigeria’s intelligence community, including military intelligence, should probe the relationship between the timing of the HumAngle story and the murderous attacks that Boko Haram launched some few hours before the publication of the report. The Nigeria Security Tracker was published on June 1, 2020 and HumAngle only used it as a crutch to promote Boko Haram on June 11, 2020, which could imply that Salkida prompted his contact in the terrorist group on the need to carry out such attack such that the dismal outlook that the Tracker painted about Boko Haram’s future could be mitigated.
Fortunately, all that Salkida apparently set out to do with the half-baked story failed and spectacularly so. He could not prove that foreign elements were instrumental to the high Boko Haram casualty, he could not justify the supposed dispute between the recorded terrorists’ death and neither did he succeed in re-casting his clients as invincible. What he unwittingly achieved was to show that the tide turned against his clients from the moment General Buratai relocated to the theatre of operations. HumAngle has been able to prove that the COAS usually under report the achievements of the army under him.
Salkida has also proven that, as Boko Haram mouthpiece and propagandist , he is out to mislead Nigerians with a new rendition of stories that responsible news outlets had reported professionally without injecting imperialist bias. He has proven that his objective is to diminish the efforts of our troops and their numerous sacrifices especially that of the Chief of Army Staff. These irresponsible attempts make Abubakar Shekau appear saintly while establishing Salkida as the actual Boko Haram leader; this is especially so that the war is moving into a phase where the objective has changed to winning over hearts since most of the terrorist fighters have been eliminated.
It is for this reason that the authorities must actively take steps to increase the number of the “116 Boko Haram informants, spies, and coordinators” arrested since the COAS moved to the war front. The concept is straight forward, cut off the head of the monster and the rest is history. Salkida has proven to be the head of the Boko Haram monster and it is time that he is added to the lower cadre informants and coordinators that are now in custody. He should not be allowed the luxury of activating the Boko Haram cells that answer to him.
Kolawole PhD wrote this piece from Keffi..