By Philip Nwosu
General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Lawrence Fejokwu, has restated the importance of intelligence gathering to solving the problem of insurgency in the country.
Fejokwu spoke during an interaction with Defence Correspondents in Lagos.
He explained that sound intelligence gathering, interfacing with other security agencies and a good plan of action were needed to contain the activities of insurgents.
He said: “Once you have the right intelligence, you can nip in the bud insurgency and insecurity before they start to fester.
“That is why intelligence sharing is key to solving the problem of insurgency because if you lay back on these issues they will come to your doorsteps.”
The GOC encouraged journalists and the public to partner the military in the fight against insurgency by bringing up necessary information concerning suspicious issues and gatherings.
“It is such information that will enable the military to solve the problem of insurgency before it gets out of hand and begins to snowball into a bigger monster.
“However, measures are been put in place for the security of Lagos and Ogun states by the military, for a joint operation, when it becomes necessary.
“The military is here to protect the citizens and make them go about their businesses in the safest environment, which is part of the mission I intend to entrench,” Fejokwu said.
The GOC also urged the media to do its jobs objectively and with balanced reporting, without necessarily sensationalising things with the aim of capturing the audience.
Fejokwu assured of improving on the trust between the media and the military, by exchanging necessary information, but stated that such trust should, however, not be betrayed.
“It is what you put out there that people get to know, analyse, digest, take decisions and form opinions.
“We will partner the media to the best of our ability and run an open door system for free communication between the military and the media,” he said.
Fejokwu said there had been reports of attacks and imminent attacks on public and private facilities and assured the populace that the army was not sleeping over it.
He, however, said the army had its core mandate and were only assigned internal tasks from time to time which they try to carry out to the best of their ability.
“Everybody seems to want the army to provide answers for everything, while carrying out these tasks in the midst of fighting insurgency and all manner of violent crimes across the country.
“Therefore, it is also important we free up ourselves to an extent so that other security agencies will do their work and allow us to focus on our primary mandate.
“However, it is only when whatever they are trying to manage begins to overwhelm them that we can be tasked to come in and give them support,” the GOC said.
Fejokwu said the army would continue to carry out training based on the directives of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, to prepare for emergency situations as they come.