- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Insurgence, Terrorism, and other forms of Conflict in Nigeria is a major threat to the sustainability of peace and unity especially under this democratic dispensation. In post-colonial era, Nigeria had witnessed War and other forms of ethno religious conflicts. Scholars like Nnanyelugo (2004) and Okechuku (2007) believe that most violent activities in Nigeria are tied to the imbalance in the amalgamation of different people by the British colonial masters which later resulted in the division of the country along North, South, Muslims, Christians, Indigenes and Settlers and that in an attempt to gain upper hand along national scene, these various groups have been set against one another leading to crisis and terrorist attacks across the Nation.
Osaghae and Suberu (2005, p. 18) affirm that in Nigeria, religious related violence and killings to achieve religious and political aims are certainly not a new phenomenon especially in the Northern part of the country. They further explained that these have been in existence right from the pre- colonial clays of migration and Jihad by native Africans and Jihadists (from Sudan), to national food shortage strike violence in Plateau state, between the Igbo and Hausa migrants in 1945. Religious and ethno political crisis have remained an integral part of the Nigerian history. Abimbola (2010) holds that the outbreak of Boko Haram uprising in July 2009 marked yet another phase in the recurring pattern of crisis, riots and disturbances in Nigeria. This implies that the Boko Haram activity is only another form of crisis being witnessed in Nigeria but not the first religious uprising. Like the first major and subsequent attempts, it widened the scope and efforts of Islamic revivalism. Other religious activities includes the Maitasine uprising of 1980 in Kano, 1982 in Kaduna, 1984 in Yola and.1985 in Bauchi. Obviously, the first attempts at imposing a religious ideology on a secular Nigeria marked the beginning of ferocious conflict and crisis in Nigeria (Isichei 1987, p. 194-208)
Following the Maitasine crisis, there were several other crisis. These include the Kano metropolitan riot of October 1982, the Ilorin riot of March 1986, the Nationwide crisis over Nigerian membership in the organization of Islamic Conference in January – Febuary. 1986, the Kafanchan, Kaduna, Zaria religious riot of March 1987, the acrimonious nationwide debate of Sharia (Islamic law) at the Constituent Assembly in October – Nov 1988, the Bayero University crisis of 1989, the Bauchi Kastina riots of March, April 1991, the Kano riot of October 1991, the Zangoh – kataf riot of May 1992, the Kano civil disturbance of December 1991 and Jos crisis of April 1994(Imo 1995, P.21-23, Ibrahim 1998, p.512-516)
Similarly, between 1999 & 2008, 28 other conflicts were reported , the most prominent are the Shagamu conflict of July 1999 and the recurrent Jos crisis of 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008 and Boko Haram outbreak 2009. (Omipidan 2000, P. 5-6). Of the entire aforementioned crisis, none has threatened the peace and security of the Nigeria state like the current crisis masterminded by the Boko Haram sect. The Insurgent sect which is against western education is also officially known as Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-jihad (Arabic language) and has unleashed and claimed responsibility for series of attacks
Research shows that the sect has existed for a very long time but gained prominence in 2008 when they stormed the police station and prisons in Maiduguri to free their members. The sect’s leader, Mohammed Yusuf was caught in the process and allegedly executed by the Nigerian police. The sect has carried out lots of successful attacks after the death of their leader most of which were bomb blasts which have left multitudes of people dead and valuable property destroyed. Some of these attacks include the August 26, 2011 bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja which left 25 persons dead with several casualties, the December 25th bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church, Maclalla in Suleja Local Government Area of Niger state with 43 people dead and several others injured, and the Jan 5th, 2012 killing of Christians in the church in Kano. (Emewu 2011 & Suzan 2012).
With all these attacks, Nigeria was recently ranked 19th most at risk country in the world, according to a survey released on August 2011 by United Kingdom global analyst, Maple Croft. With this ranking, the country is now among the countries that are at “extreme risk” from terrorist attacks. Nigeria’s current status according to Maple Croft is attributed mainly to the uprising by the militia sect (Bakare 2011).
Findings unveiled that all these insurgent activities particularly the Boko Haram received adequate Media attention especially the print media. The place of the mass media in contemporary society cannot be over emphasized; they are not only crucial in information dissemination but also provide bases for people to take informed decision. This is why Golding (1974) as cited by Enahoro and Richard contends, “The media are central in the provision of ideals and images which people use to interpret and understand a great deal of their everyday lives”. This view is particularly useful in the time of crisis or emergency where media information reportage is crucial to managing and handling issues emanating from such.
The print media particularly has over the years been seen as a tool that can effect change, certainly not always positive or always negative but alternates from one to the other and vice versa. Human beings on the other hand long for change, but this is quite, impossible because the human condition by nature makes this an unattainable goal. In effect, there is a breakdown of order, not only within self, but also outside the self-stretching towards man’s immediate environment and beyond. When this happens, there is breakdown of the process of smooth flow of information from one source to the other. These breakdowns of the communication process usually arise either because one of the parties sees himself as deliberately disadvantaged or imagine himself disadvaritaged irrespective of the true state of affairs. (Anyanwa 2004,p. 110).
In the face of the current security crisis in the country anchored by the Boko Haram sect, the mass media can play an effective role in resolving the crisis through adequate reportage. Bola (2010,p. 83) as cited by Okoro revealed that conflict, in Nigeria have adequately received maximum coverage particularly the print media, the surveillance function of the mass media must be effectively played to warn people of any impending danger through effective, timely accurate reportage.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The press as it is referred to both print and the electronic media is regarded as having an essential role to play in nation building. The press has variously been described by different name, one of which is the fourth estate of the realm, a role that empowers it to serve as a check on the functions of the government. Another role designated for the press by the virtue of its involvement in public affairs is that of a watchdog which inevitably result into a relationship between it and the government. In addition, it is referred to as the think tank of the nation and for a young democratic nation like Nigeria, it is the Rational unifier.
In contrast to the above elegant appellation ascribed to the media, the press especially the print has been perceived as giving much coverage to the Boko Haram activities thereby causing panic and instilling fear into the masses. In this regard, this research intends to find out if the media specifically the print have been accurate, timely, effective, and objective in their reportage.
1.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To find out how effective the print media have been in their reportage of Boko Haram insurgence.
- To ascertain if the print media have been objective and timely in reporting the Boko Haram insurgence.
- To find out if the print media have effectively played their surveillance function in their reportage.
- To find out if the print media has been biased in their reportage.
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Have the print media reported the Boko Haram insurgence effectively?
- To what extent has the print media been objective, timely and adequate in their reportage of the insurgence?
- How well has the print media played their surveillance function in the reportage of the Boko Haram activities?
- Have the various print media been biased in their reportage of the Boko Haram insurgence?
1.5. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This academic research is designed to enlighten the society on the activities of the Boko Haram sect and how the mass media, the print particularly have fared in their reportage of these activities. It will also help the public to be cautious of the danger that accompanied this insurgence.
It also intends to draw the attention of the mass media, the print specifically to the perception of their audience and readers about their reportage of the Boko Haram activities. The mass media exist for the society, it is in such a way that people’s-attitude towards most issues are mainly the result of newspaper, television and radio report. Therefore, the media should always put the interest of the masses first in the cause of their duty.
The study will also be of immense importance to the government, security agencies, policy makers, and public affairs analysts. It will provide them with background knowledge of the activities of the sect and best ways to handle it.
Based on the fact that research is a continuous process, this study will serve as bases for other researchers who might be interested in finding out more on the Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria and on relate .topics in the future.
1.7. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study focuses on the reportage of the Boko Haram activities by three (3) selected national dailies; the papers include Guardian, a southern paper, the Nation from the north and Vanguard from the west. The analysis will be base on six months publication of the selected papers. That is from My 2012 to December 2012.
1.8. DEFINITION OF TERMS
ANALYSIS: It is a careful examination of something in order to understand it better
REPORTAGE: t formal way of describing an event on newspaper, television, and radio
BOKO HARAM: western education is a sin.
ACTIVITIES: something that you do because you enjoy doing it
SELECT: to choose someone or something by thinking carefully about the one that is most suitable.
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