•Aims to change the military’s narrative
•Author seeks to bridge the gap in media coverage of counterinsurgency warfare
The trilogy honoring Buratai
Over the weekend, defence correspondent Mallam Jibrin Baba Ndace launched a trilogy of books that delved into Nigeria’s counterinsurgency warfare. The trilogy, dedicated to LT Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, former Chief of Army Staff and immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, sheds light on the challenges and realities of the insurgency against Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in the northeast of the country.
During the launch event in Abuja, Ndace expressed his concern about the media’s inadequate coverage of the insurgency and highlighted the need to fill this gap. The trilogy comprises three books: “Walking the War Front with Lt. Gen. TY Buratai,” “Duty Call under Buratai’s Command,” and a collection of poems titled “The Lonely Grave and Other Poems.”
Ndace who is also public affairs commentator, peace advocate and award-winning journalist, said books were written, specifically to aid in the visualization of the horror’s terrorists have visited on citizens and how the Nigerian Army and other security services, Civilian JTF confronted them under the leadership of Buratai.
A military officer who saw the manuscripts of the books, had this to say: “These books, which have taken Jibrin over 5 years to successfully complete, have taken a lot of sweat, blood and tears. These books are not just mere stories but actual realities. Not just through his eyes, but also through the experiences of servicemen”.
The author had earlier in a statement, described his trilogy as a must read for everyone seeking to have deep insight and pictorial evidence on Nigeria’s counter-insurgency warfare in the most ravaging moments.
Speaking on why he embarked on the project which took him five years of hard work, Ndace, immediate-past Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State, noted that he was encouraged by the need to document that phase of the war against insurgency in which he was a witness. “These books were inspired by many veterans who fought on and off the war field. “Soldiers who sacrificed their lives to serve our great nation, the courage they exhibited and the aftermath of their gruesome experiences. “Amongst many soldiers and servicemen, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai occupies a large part of the storytelling. “Lt. Gen TY Buratai is a retired Nigerian army General, former Chief of Army Staff, who was appointed in 2015 and retired in January 2021,” he said.
On the scope of the book, the ace defence correspondent, explained that his trilogy contains first-hand accounts, poems, photographs, and powerful storytelling, witnessing the courage and sacrifice of soldiers, the brutal realities of combat, and the toll that war takes on both the human body and the human mind.
Commendation for counterinsurgency efforts
Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabor commended Buratai’s leadership in counterinsurgency warfare, emphasizing its significant impact in reducing insurgency across the country. He acknowledged Buratai’s media operations that facilitated the fight against insurgency and praised his influence on the men and women of the armed forces.
Irabor stressed the importance of honoring and promoting the sacrifices made by the armed forces personnel, urging the need for an accurate and positive narrative about their efforts.
Reshaping the narrative
Major General Bashir Magashi, the Minister of Defence, highlighted the limited number of journalists who show passion for covering security-related matters, which play a crucial role in society. He called on Nigerian journalists, particularly those in the media, to support the fight against insurgency through comprehensive and informative reporting.
Magashi acknowledged the existing coverage of the security sector but expressed the need for further improvement. He emphasized the importance of fair criticism tempered with justice in shaping public opinion.
Addressing the gaps in reportage
Brigadier General SK Usman retired former Director of Army Public Relations, reviewed one of the books, “Duty Call,” and highlighted its significance in addressing the missing aspects of reportage on counterinsurgency warfare. He emphasized the necessity of reshaping the narrative to accurately capture the sacrifices made by the Nigerian army.
“The Lonely Brave” sheds light on the courage displayed by members of the armed forces in the performance of their duties. The book also addresses issues related to family, education, and the nation’s fight against the Boko Haram insurgency.
During his remarks, Buratai expressed concern about the prevailing insecurity in the country and called on journalists to intensify balanced reporting, stressing the importance of providing accurate and comprehensive information to the public.
The launch of the book trilogy serves as a significant step towards documenting and commemorating the efforts of the armed forces in Nigeria’s counterinsurgency warfare while advocating for a more accurate and holistic narrative.