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Countering Boko Haram Insurgency and Terrorism: Assessment of Media Campaigns

Abstract

This study assessed selected media campaigns used in the on-going Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Operations in North East Nigeria. The essence of this research was inspired by the renewed onslaught of Boko Haram activities on soft targets, the use of minors for suicide mission as well as a new tactics of ‘forcefully conscripting’ youths into their fold. The war has been ideological with a surplus application of bullet approach and suicide mission in some instances. War with such parameters needs a more robust approach; a combination of gun and awareness creation to conquer or subdue the spread of the ideology. The research work therefore, sought to examine the patterns, tones and content of media campaigns against Boko Haram. Discourse analysis and observation methods were employed in the study. Data was collected from the media campaigns broadcast on radio and television and placed on billboards and results showed that the media campaigns mainly portrayed Boko Haram as anti-Islam; and emphasised on the need for citizens to be security conscious by reporting suspected members of the sect to the nearest security outfit. Public knowledge on security consciousness has increased. There is clarity of information in the messages and contained central messages like ‘stop killing, repent and surrender your weapons’. The media campaigns were mainly produced in local languages; Hausa, Kanuri and Shuwa Arab. This study recommended that ethical issues like portraying minors involved in perpetrating the heinous acts and exceeding the conventional 60 seconds time limit for radio and television jingles should be considered while producing the media campaigns.

Ibrahim Uba Yusuf

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