The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Monday described as fake news and disinformation, last Wednesday’s report by Reuters that the Nigerian Army had been running a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the North East since 2013.
The report also claimed that at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls, many of whom were abducted and raped by terrorists, had been forcefully terminated.
Speaking in Abuja on Sunday at the 10th edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023), the information minister said fake news and disinformation, if not checked, could have a negative impact on the nation’s fight against terrorism.
He said Reuters’ allegation was without a scintilla of evidence as it cited only anonymous sources and the reported review of phantom ‘documents’.
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According to him, military operations in the North East are not arbitrary but based on the standard operating procedure and rules of engagement.
The minister said where any proven infraction or criminal act had been committed by any soldier, the law had always taken its course.
“The Federal Government hereby categorically states that there is no ‘secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme’ being run by our military in the North East or anywhere across the country. We also hereby reject the accusation of running an abortion programme levelled against our military.
“For the record, the Nigerian military has rescued 11 Chibok girls with all their children; 2,018 other persons comprising 339 adult males, 660 adult females and 1019 children), while 82,645 persons; comprising 16,621 male fighters, 24,638 women and 41,386 children, have surrendered. The military has also neutralized 494 terrorists (note that this does not include terrorists neutralized through airstrikes and terrorists’ infighting).
“Why is this news agency not playing up this positive news but instead, they choose to give prominence to a phantom abortion story? Is this a ploy to demoralize and distract our fighting forces? Is it a strategy to set the world against Nigeria and cut off the support that is critical to crushing terrorists?
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