Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The caretaker chairman of Dikwa local government area of Borno state, Ali Modu Gana, had refuted reports carried by the international media on Monday that there was an attack on the town.
A foreign radio station had reported that there was an attack on Dikwa by Boko Haram insurgents during which the council secretariat was set ablaze and security operatives deployed to the area chased away.
But Gana said Tuesday that the report was false, careless and downright unprofessional and aimed at misleading the public while also giving the terrorists cheap publicity.
He said coming from an international news media shows how members of the public and the audience are being misled, misinformed, misguided and faced with media imperialism.
“I was in Dikwa throughout yesterday (Monday), I even swore-in all my appointed ward councillors in line with the constitution peacefully, but all of a sudden, people started calling me on phone Tuesday morning sympathizing with me that Boko Haram attacked my town and set ablaze our local government secretariat and chased military away,” he narrated.
Setting the records right, the chairman said that “what actually took place in Dikwa on Monday was an explosion caused by faulty solar street light batteries that led to panic by some residents and not an attack in any way,”.
He, however, called upon the media to always verify their facts before going public, stressing that the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the constitution should not be misused in such a way that it gives cheap publicity to terrorists, as well as tarnish the image and integrity of the country.
Our correspondent reports that solar street lights with expired batteries which exploded and was mistaken for a bomb blast in Dikwa caused commotion as people scampered for their lives.
The panic was heightened when security forces deployed to the area also fired sporadic gunshots into the air believing that terrorists were operating in the town.
It was learnt that there was confusion around leading to mass exodus of people, including women and children, in the town after a thunderous blast.
Residents who initially spoke to newsmen claimed that members of the Boko Haram sect stormed the area and detonated explosives before engaging troops in a gun-duel.