Military-Media Partnership; key to National Security” – CoAS

BY EUNICE EMEYAZIA

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has stressed the need to build a society where the military and the media are united in their commitment to effectively combat insecurity and safeguard the nation.

Lt. Gen. Lagbaja stated this in Asaba the Delta State capital, during the Nigerian Army Civil-Military Cooperation Media Chat for 1st Quarter 2024, with the theme “Imperatives of Military-Media Partnership for the Attainment of National Security”.

The CoAS who was represented by the GOC 6 Division/ Land Component Commander Joint Taskforce South South Operation Delta State, Major General Jamal Abdusalam said the Nigerian Army recognized the impact of the media as a vital link between the military and public in providing essential information, shaping public opinion, and holding institutions accountable, hence the media chat.

He said in an era characterized by rapid information dissemination and evolving security threats, effective communication and transparency remained key in ensuring the safety and well-being of citizens, adding that the Media Chat was among the various platforms established by the Nigerian Army to create a conducive environment for dialogue between the Nigerian Army and media practitioners, facilitating the exchange of valuable information and ideas for the mutual benefit of all.

The CoAS said embracing the principle of civil-military cooperation, which sought to foster understanding, collaboration, and synergy between the military and civil actors, including the media, would go a long way in bridging the gap between the military and the public, dispelling misconceptions, and building trust and confidence in the country’s security institutions.

He said beyond the deployment of troops and the acquisition of advanced weaponry, attainment of national security required the trust and cooperation of the citizens and media, noting that through accurate and responsible reporting, the media played a crucial role in informing citizens, fostering dialogue, and strengthening national security.

Lt. Gen. Lagbaja said it is important for the Nigerian Army to regularly inform the media about their activities, saying that as the Nigerian Army strived to deliver on its constitutional mandate, the media should also uphold the highest standards of professionalism, accuracy, impartiality, and patriotism by ensuring that their reports contribute positively to national security.

He said without the collaboration of certain unpatriotic and unscrupulous individuals within the society, the actions of non-state actors aiming to undermine the security, welfare, and overall prosperity of the country would be significantly diminished and almost nonexistent.

Citing the killing of some Army troops in Okuoma Community of Delta State, he described the act as unacceptable and condemnable, especially as it was ” executed in the most barbaric and cruel manner”, even as he noted that the fallen soldiers were only carrying out their constitutional assignments.

The CoAS therefore urged the media to refrain from amplifying the activities of undesirable elements, as terrorists, insurgents, and other deviant groups thrive on attention and exploit propaganda to instill fear in law-abiding citizens.

Welcoming Guests earlier, the Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Major Gen. Nosakhare Ugbo said through collaboration with the media, the Nigerian Army ensured that accurate and balanced information reached the public, dispelling misinformation and rumors capable of sowing public distrust, emphasizing that the military has a responsibility to provide access to information without compromising operational security and sensitive intelligence.

He said aside the quarterly media chat, the Nigerian Army also organized social media seminars, human rights seminars and sensitization lectures among others, aimed at interfacing with various strata of the society to project activities of the Nigerian Army, as well as encouraging responsible partnership, even as it had also implemented measures to boost professionalism among its troops, thorough training, workshops, sensitizations and the provision of necessary equipment and operational enablers.

“These are aimed at ensuring that our troops fulfill their constitutional duties in line with the Chief of Army Staff Command Philosophy “To Transform the Nigerian Army into a Well-Trained, Equipped and Highly Motivated Force Towards Achieving our Constitutional Responsibilities within a Joint Environment”.

The Special Guest of Honour, Mallam Jibrin Baba Ndace, who declared the event open, reiterated that the dedication and professionalism of both the military and media are indispensable, adding that continued cooperation would further strengthen collective efforts in ensuring the stability of Nigeria.

Mallam Baba-Ndace who is also the Director General Voice of Nigeria VON, urged all to reaffirm commitment to open dialogue, mutual respect, and shared goals as they recognized the importance of civil-military cooperation and navigate the complexities of national security,

” I am positive that with a robust military-media partnership, the national security objectives would be attained. This is in addition to the contributions of all other elements of national power” the DG added.

The Delta state Commissioner for Information, Dr. Ifeanyi Osuoza commended the Media Chat initiative saying that ” it’s an index that the leadership of the Nigerian Army understands the crucial importance of establishing and nurturing positive relationships with the civil population towards building and achieving the all-important civil-military understanding”.

He commended the Nigerian Army for considering it worthwhile to partner with the media, noting that the media deserved to be studied in a more profound and sustained sense by promoters, actors, and facilitators of democracy and good governance, given their unique function of providing information to the public, and confirming the actions of the government on issues of National Security.

The General Manager of the Delta Broadcasting Service, DBS Asaba, Mrs Christiana Jebome-Emetulu, in her remarks, thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, for the initiative that has brought relevant stakeholders in the media and civil society under one roof to share experiences and proffer suggestions that will engender a better Military-Civil partnership, enhance internal security and promote nation building.

While saying that the Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori led government is fully committed to enhancing peace and security as reflected by the 4th leg of the MORE Agenda – ‘Enhanced Peace and Security’, she pledged the support of the Delta Broadcasting Service Asaba to the Military’s efforts towards achieving the national goal of peace building, as it concerned Media engagement and like roles, bearing in mind that peace is synonymous with progress and development.

The event featured lectures on Enhancing National Security Through Military-Media Engagements by Major Gen. O. O. Adeleke (Rtd) and Promoting Military-Media Trust for Enhanced Public Support Towards Addressing Nigeria Security Challenges by Prof. Godwin Oboh, as well as panel discussions to throw light on grey areas.

Souvenirs were presented to special Guests, while participants also received certificates of attendance.

NIM

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