Nigeria’s social media platforms, especially the Twitter, were set on overdrive on Thursday as some Nigerians expressed concerns over the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations against Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in the North East.
This resulted in a trending hashtag #ThankYouBuratai that polarised opinions with most active twitter users engaging in a free-for-all verbal assaults while expressing their approval or disapproval of how the ongoing war against terror is being prosecuted by the Nigerian Army leadership under the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
It was a top trend throughout Thursday with over 30,000 comments as at the time of writing.
What sparked the latest bout of who is more patriotic than the other depending on which camp one belongs, was the recent viral video showing soldiers calling out the Nigerian Army leadership for failing them following the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attacks on their convoy by Boko Haram terrorists.
Feeling that the Army leadership has come under undue criticisms, some concerned Nigerians started trending #ThankYouBuratai, as a mark of patriotism. They used parody twitter account of some of the Nigerian celebrities including Don Jazzy, Wiz Kid, and DJ Cuppy amongst others to drive their message and traffic
Unfortunately, attracted immediate backlash and infuriated some Nigerians who felt that being patriotic is defending those soldiers who are paying the ultimate price and at the same time condemning any perceived failures on the part of the military leadership.
According to some of them, loyalty to the Nigerian Armed Forces should not be personalised and hence instead of the #ThankYouBuratai, such commendation should be accorded to the fallen heroes as well as those soldiers currently facing the heat.
Even though the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) through the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen. John Enenche, has come to intervene in the situation, stating that the soldiers in the viral video were traumatised by the event and would be undergoing medical counselling.
This did not however, stop some Nigerians from feeling concerned about the state of the war against terror as expressed in these tweets.