The Nigerian government has reportedly hired Levick, a top US PR firm based in Washington DC to help clean up its international image after it repeatedly bungled reports on it’s efforts in rescuing hundreds of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok.
According to American website, The Holmes Report, Nigerian ministers have been in touch with up to 5 PR firms within London in May, although the appointment of Levick was facilitated separately by the Nigeria News Agency, whose boss Ima Iboro is in charge of all correspondence with Levick.
The deal will reportedly cost the Nigerian government $1.2m with the US firm given the objective to “change the international and local media narrative surrounding Nigeria’s efforts to find and safely return the girls abducted by the terrorist organization Boko Haram.”
According to Mark Irion who spoke to the Holmes Report, the contract was part of a wider effort in getting international support for Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram.
“This assignment is to communicate on behalf of Nigeria to galvanise support in the US but ultimately internationally, for fighting the scourge of Boko Haram, and, in so doing, getting back the girls and any other children that have been harmed through the years by Boko Haram,” said Irion.
Boko Haram, a terrorist organisation operating in Nigeria’s north-eastern region is responsible for the death of thousands of civilians in the region, so far this year in their quest to establish an Islamic Caliphate in Nigeria.
In April, the militant group kidnapped over 200 girls from their dormitories in a school in Chibok, Borno state, prompting widespread international condemnation.
The Nigerian government has been widely criticised for its slow response to the atrocity as the international community led by the US and Britain pledge military and intelligence support to help find the missing girls.