The Nigerian Army has cautioned the media on reportage of military operations, especially as they affect the war on insurgency, saying that the media have an important role to play in the development of the country and the enthronement of peace and security.
The Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Major General Usman Mohammed, who gave the admonition said that the message disseminated by the media – the way they are delivered and tone of delivery – have far-reaching implication, especially as they affect the security of the country.
He spoke at a seminar organised by the force in conjunction with Security Affairs, on the role of the social media in civil-military relations as a non-kinetic tool for enhanced peace and security in Nigeria, describing the social media as a dangerous weapon used to influence and shape the opinions of citizens, which has a critical outcome in the fight against insurgency.
He words: “It is very obvious that what you say, the way you say it and how it spreads have far-reaching implications that most of us are aware of. We all have the power to positively influence the security architecture of this great nation with the right desire, particularly with the dominance of fake news and hate speeches.
“We are very much aware of the power of the cyberspace and modern wars are fought using the cyberspace and the social media acting as dangerous weapons which have the capability of influencing and shaping the opinions of people, thereby having a critical outcome in the battle being fought.
“Presently, there are too many narratives about the security architecture of the country, but we all have important roles to play in ensuring peace and security in this country through the spread of the right information and correct narratives.”
He said that there is a lot that the Nigerian Army is doing through the Department of Civil-Military Affairs, especially in winning the hearts and minds of the populace, adding that “the Nigerian Army is not unaware of the gap that existed in the past as a result of misconception, misinformation and the many years of the involvement of the military in politics did not help matters.”
General Mohammed said that it is the desire to bridge the perceived gap of divide with the civil populace that necessitated the establishment of the Department of Civil-Military Affairs, noting that most of the efforts of the department have been towards promoting the image of the Nigerian Army through effective partnership and collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
He recalled that in the last four years, the Nigerian Army has carried out more than 100 civil-military related projects with the aim of bridging the gap with the civil populace and ensuring the force is seen in a positive light.
Traditionally, he pointed out that the Nigerian Army is known for guns, wars and brutality, but added that all those are now in the past, especially with all the force is doing to ensure it reverses the negativity of a few of its erring personnel.