By Odunayo Oluwabukola, Ibadan
The Nigerian Army has said that Nigeria as a country need a healthy military -media relationship to create a positive perception that would sustain popular support to the Army’s counter terrorism operations and other operations being conducted to secure the country and protect innocent citizens.
The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. General Taoreed Lagbaja made this disclosure in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State during the Nigerian Army Civil -Military Cooperation Media Chat held at the Officers’ Mess, Agodi, Ibadan.
Lt General Lagbaja who was ably represented at the event by the General Officer Commanding of 2 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Bamidele Alabi reiterated the commitment of Nigerian Army in tackling the security challenges currently facing the country.
Lagbaja stressed that the Media Chat is part of the Civil-Military Cooperation activities aiming at keeping the journalists informed, dispel rumours and provide accurate and timely information to the media as an important segment of nation building.
Lagbaja in address noted that the security environment in Nigeria has drastically evolved such that the Nigerian Army is deployed to combat terrorists, insurgents and other criminals in all part of the country.
He said, “Nigerian Army will continue to train and equip its forces to carry out kinetic operations in compliance with the approved rules of engagement and code of conduct for various theatres, within and outside the Country. To deepen the institutionalization of professionalism in the Nigerian Army, I crafted the wordings of my’ Command Philosophy which is “To Transform the Nigerian Army into Well-Trained, a Equipped and Highly Motivated Force Towards Achieving our Constitutional Responsibilities within Joint Environment”. In this regards, the Nigerian Army under my leadership has emplaced robust strategies across all lines of operations to ensure that the security challenges in the Country are resolved favourably with the shortest possible time.”
While speaking on the theme of the Media Chat, “Leveraging Media To Enhance Nigeria’s Internal Security Operations”, The Chief of Army Staff said, “at a time like this, when the nation is inundated with a myriad of internal security challenges, the Nigerian Army under my leadership has adopted a multi-dimensional approach requiring the collaboration of all especially the media in confronting these challenges. Thus, a forum such as this media chat is important for a more detailed examination of issues that relate to the Nigerian Army, in order to provide context and other perspectives to the issues.”
“Traditionally, the media keeps society informed of events as they occur including military operations. They interpret the military to society. The military on the other hand is concerned with the successful conduct of its missions which may require the maintenance of operational security required to win. However, a good part of the interface between the media and the military involves the reportage of routine military activities and the conduct of military personnel in peace time.”
“Nowadays, advances in information and communication technology and the rise of the new media has opened a new vista in media practice. It has blurred the line between professional media practitioners and amateurs who practise the trade without ethics or responsibility. This has changed the dynamics in the media practise to keep society informed and placed an added burden to help separate genuine news from fake news.”
“A media chat such as this, is an opportunity to dispel rumours, interrogate issues relating to the Army and debunk fake news. It is held every quarter of the year in the hope that major occurrences involving the Nigerian Army while carrying out its constitutional responsibilities in the preceding 3 months can be examined more deeply and in context. The choice of Ibadan as a venue for this event is to enable media practitioners and other participants from the South West Geopolitical zone to actively participate in this edition of the Media Chat.”
“The successful conduct of these operations require the support and efforts of the people. Hence, the country requires a healthy Military-Media relationship to create a positive perception that would sustain popular support to the Army’s counter terrorism operations and other operations being conducted to secure the country and protect innocent citizens. The media remains a key partner in our non-kinetic line of operation for the security of the country.” Lagbaja said.
In his welcome address, the Chief of Civil – Military Affairs, Major General Nosakhare Ugbo noted that the Nigerian Army organized Civil-Military Cooperation Media Chat for Third Quarter 2023 as part efforts to keep the media informed of its Civil-Military Cooperation and Civil-Military Relations activities in order to eliminate rumours and provide accurate and timely information in line with international best practices.
Major General Nosakhare further maintained that the theme of the Media Chat which is “Leveraging Media to Enhance Nigeria’s Internal Security Operations” is a unique one, as we shall have the opportunity to listen to 2 lectures to be delivered by 2 accomplished Generals of the Nigerian Army.
Nosakhare said, “the gathering will further provide an opportunity for the Nigerian Army to engage with various communication experts for better understanding, and to chart a mutually beneficial relationship to improve media reportage. The Media Chat is also an aspect of the non-kinetic line of operations as the constitutional mandate.”
The Nigerian Army has continually emplaced measures to strengthen the civil-military relationship in Nigeria. The Army has achieved this through enhanced civil-military cooperation activities, effective liaison, visits to relevant stakeholders, advocacy and mediation as well as seminars. In addition, the Army conducts workshops and conferences with different strata of the Nigerian Society. Within the Nigerian Army, deliberate efforts have been institutionalized to enhance professionalism among troops towards achieving our constitutionals responsibilities. These include enhanced training of personnel, sensitization and equipping to ensure that our troops remain resolute in the discharge of their duties within the ambit of the laws of armed conflicts, and in tandem with best practices. These mechanisms are further reinforced by the Chief of Army Staff resolve “To transform the NA into a Well-Trained, Equipped and Highly Motivated Constitutional Environment”. Nosakhare said.