…as CIMIC holds media chat on crisis management
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya has again, reemphasized the imperative of the media in projecting the Nigerian Army’s non-kinetic approach in resolving critical issues in the country.
He noted that the media would continue to play an indispensable role as a watch dog, especially in its reportage and perception management, stressing that merging those pillars positively would assist the Nigerian Army in its operations.
He spoke as the Special Guest of Honour at the 3rd Quarter CIMIC Media Chat 2022 organised by the Army Headquaters, Department of Civil-Military Affairs at the 81 Division Officers Mess, Marina on Monday.
He was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Maj Gen Obinna Ajunwa.
Expatiating on the aptness of the Media Chat, the COAS observed that the chat provided a rare opportunity to engage various media practitioneers and influencers which would be beneficial to the Nigerian Army and the media, and by extension, galvanise into improved media reportage along non-kinetic lines.
Adding that conversation of this nature should be sustained, he reiterated that apart from cementing cordial relationships and keeping media practitioneers informed, it serves as a means of dispelling rumours, thereby providing accurate and timely information to the media as practiced globally.
He further stated that “the involvement of the Nigerian Army in statecraft and governance of the country in the past negatively impacted professionalism and resulted in suspicion and resentment by the civil populace, hence there is the need for the Armed Forces to build trust, confidence and erase the negative perception of the military among the citizenry.”
With the theme: “Media as a Critical Tool in Addressing Insecurity in Nigeria,” the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Maj Gen Marcus Kangye said the establishment of Civil-Military Affairs has led to the reduction in frosty relationships and clashes between the media on one hand, and the civil populace on the other.
According to him, the quarterly event is in consonance with the Nigerian Army’s drive towards keeping the Media informed of its Civil-Military Cooperation and Civil-Military Relations activities as a means of eliminating rumours but provide accurate and timely information in line with global best practices.
In addition, he observed, “since the formation of the Civil-Military Legal Desk under the Department in February 2016, issues relating to human rights violations and abuses by troops during Internal Security and Counter-Terrorism and Counter Insurgency operations have declined as available statistics showed that there have been a drastic reduction in litigation cases involving personnel of the Nigerian Army in recent times.
He added that extensive and constant Sensitization Workshops on Human Rights conducted across Nigerian Army Divisions and formations have had positive impact on the force.
The Guest lecturer, Maj Gen Chris Olukolade (retd) on the topic: “The Role of the Media in Enhancing Civil-Military Cooperation in Joint Operations Environment,” noted that the military and the media are indispensable in running the affairs of the country and urged the army to intensify its sensitization programme to bridge conflict gaps.
On his part, the Director, Military-Civil Affairs, Major General Ahmed Taiwo disclosed that the Nigerian Army has executed 328 projects across the country and such projects covered medical raphsody, construction of medical centres, Bridges and provision of boreholes in communities spread across the geo-political zones of the country.
Discussants included Mrs Morayo Afolabi-Brown, Anchor of “Your View”, a current affairs programme on Television Continental; Gbenga Arulueba of African Independent Television (AIT); Babajide Kolade-Otitoju Director, Current Affairs, Television Continental; Dr Abubakar Alhassan of Bayero University, Kano; Maj Gen Nicholas Rogers (retd), former Theatre Commander, “Operation Lafiya Dole” in the North East and was moderated by Brig Gen Sani Kukasheka Usman.
They expressed concern about the frosty relationship between the army and the media but proffered solutions on mitigating such occurrences even as they admonished the information managers in the army on the need to give prompt and timely response to Journalists inquires to reduce such frictions.
Present at the CIMIC Media chat were media practitioners and Journalists from various media organisations such as newspaper, TV, radio, and online bloggers. The delegate members from the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) led by their President Samson Oki were also in attendance.