PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday accused media organisations of bias in reporting conflicts in the country.
He made the accusation during an interactive meeting with the Nigerian community in China yesterday.
He said while security agencies were doing their best to curtail clashes, the Nigerian media should complement the efforts through objective and informed reportage.
“To my disappointment, the members of the press in Nigeria do not make enough efforts to study the historical antecedents of issues that are creating national problems for us,” the president said.
He, therefore, appealed to the media to understand the cultural and historical implications of some of the misunderstanding, especially between herders and farmers.
Buhari, who is in Beijing for the seventh Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, explained that due to the effects of climate change, a farm that used to belong to five people now belongs to 50 and that the weather condition, particularly the rainy season, has become unpredictable.
He partly blamed the farmers/herders controversy on the shrinking of the Lake Chad, which according to him has forced many cattle nomads to seek greener pastures for their herds in other parts of the country.
According to the president, he is not intimidated at the prospect of a credible process in the 2019 general elections.
“I have no fear about free and fair elections because that is what brought me to the present position. I know what I went through, and very few Nigerians could boast of trying four times.”
Buhari’s complaint about the media came as the Nigerian Army also condemned what it described as a flawed reporting of its operations against Boko Haram.
The army yesterday denied the alleged killing of 30 soldiers by the insurgents at Zari village in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an international wire service had stated that the troops were killed when Boko Haram launched a deadly attack on Thursday evening.
According to the report, many jihadists in trucks stormed the base, seizing it briefly after a fierce battle.
The director of army public relations, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, however, denied the report in a phone interview with NAN.
He said the alleged killing was the “figment of the imagination of the news agency”.
Chukwu said contrary to the claim, the insurgents did not attack any military formation but rather came to loot foodstuffs and extort money from the locals.
He said land troops of 82 Task Force deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole, aided by the Air Task Force, successfully repelled the insurgents.
“During the fight, an overwhelming volume of fire was unleashed on the insurgents from both the air and ground troops, neutralising several of them and their weapons.
The Boko Haram fighters took some of their corpses and fled while others escaped with bullet injuries,” he said, adding that normalcy had been restored in the affected communities.
He said it was very unfortunate that people would sit in the comfort of their zones and fabricate stories that don’t exist.
“Such false narratives, we have always believed, are deliberate attempts to promote Boko Haram and their activities against the sovereignty of the country.
“That media organisation was said to have got their information from a security personnel and went ahead to file their report without making further inquiries.
This is unethical and unprofessional, to say the least,” Chukwu added.