There was a recent publication regarding the alleged deplorable conditions of the troops who are fighting Boko Haram in the North East.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed now has reasons to tag it fake news after the conclusion of an investigation ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The story quoted a Corporal, with the pseudonym Gandoki, said to be serving with one of the Special Forces Units in the theatre of operation.

He alleged that troops deployed in particular along Gubio Road and the Brig.-Gen. Maimalari Secondary School were begging for food to survive, were poorly kitted with some wearing slippers and were facing irregular/short payment of their allowances.

The publication also reported non-serviceable equipment in the theatre and all the issues, the Minister addressed at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

“The summary of the findings is that there is no case of hunger, starvation or begging among the troops fighting in the North East, and in particular in the Armed Forces Special Forces Battalion that was referenced in the publication.

“There is also no irregular/short payment of allowances, while claims of poor equipment, inadequate kitting and accommodation are found to be ill conceived and unfounded,” he said.

He seized the opportunity to justify the recently launched National Campaign Against Fake News which seeks to discourage Nigerians from sharing information they cannot verify.

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He explained: “The troops in question, deployed at Brig.-Gen. Maimalari Secondary School along Gubio Road, are being fed centrally three times a day, and are kitted immediately after their training before they are deployed in the theatre.

“How then can soldiers who are fed centrally be starving or begging for food?

“Concerning the payment of allowances, the monthly allowances of troops of the AFSF Battalion are being paid directly into their various accounts from the Defence Headquarters, hence they cannot be shortchanged.

“On the allegation of poor equipment and inadequate kitting, it was found that the inflow of logistics into the theatre in the past six months showed an enormous quantity of materiel was distributed to troops in the theatre.

“Needless to say that no army in the world has all the requisite equipment to prosecute a counter-insurgency operation.”

Mr Mohammed appealed to the media to check the veracity of whatever information they receive before publishing such and particularly to double-check with the government before publishing any information from the theatre of operation in the North East.

“Let me reiterate that this administration is a firm believer in the freedom of the press, and will not do anything to jeopardize that freedom. On its part, the press must always commit to the highest standards of journalism,” he concluded.

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