The Nigerian Army recently hosted members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media executives in Sokoto State for its Fourth Quarter 2023 Civil-Military engagement, aiming to foster a strong partnership for the timely and objective dissemination of information in addressing the challenges of banditry, terrorism, and other security issues affecting parts of the country.
In his opening statement, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Taoreed Abiodun Lagbaja, emphasized the military’s reliance on the media to communicate its operational activities in the fight against terrorism. Lagbaja urged the media to prioritize objective, balanced, and fair reporting when covering Nigerian Army activities.
Represented by Major General Godwin Mutkut, the General Officer Commanding, 8 Division, Sokoto, Lagbaja acknowledged the vital role of the media in the nation’s progress and development. He highlighted the importance of the media in the non-kinetic operations of the Nigerian Army aimed at ensuring a peaceful and secure Nigeria.
Lagbaja stressed, “The media plays an essential role in objective reportage and perception management.” He further explained that the quarterly Media Chats organized by the Army Headquarters, Department of Civil Military Affairs, serve to inform the public about the Civil-Military Cooperation activities conducted by the Nigerian Army.
The Chief of Army Staff underlined the complexity of modern military operations in challenging environments and reiterated the significance of involving the media in non-kinetic operations. He expressed the intention to create avenues for effective engagement with the media to enhance the Nigerian Army’s operations along non-kinetic lines.
Sokoto was chosen as the venue for the event to actively involve media practitioners from the North-west geopolitical zone. Lagbaja urged media professionals from the zone to continue supporting and positively representing the Nigerian Army through constructive reporting, creating a favorable perception and sustaining popular support for the army’s constitutional mandates.
He assured the nation of the unwavering loyalty of the Nigerian Army to the President and Commander-in-Chief, Bola Tinubu, expressing gratitude for the President’s strategic guidance and continuous support.
Major Gen Nosakhare Ugbo, Chief of the Civil-Military Affairs Department at the Army Headquarters, Abuja, highlighted the department’s role in enhancing cooperation, advocacy, seminars, workshops, and human rights sensitization. He emphasized the importance of media-military relations as a force multiplier in the Nigerian Army’s non-kinetic operations.
The event featured lectures by senior army officers and media executives, focusing on the roles of the media and military/media relations in addressing insecurity in Nigeria. The Army expressed its commitment to ongoing efforts to facilitate accurate information to the media, ensuring that reports align with verifiable facts and adhere to operational and national security considerations in line with global best practices.