25.7 C
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Home Blog



Members of Nigerian Guild of Editors based in Akwa Ibom State today paid a courtesy visit to the member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/ Nsit Ubium Federal Constituency, Mr Onofiok Luke in his office in Abuja.

Speaking, the state co-ordinator, Mr. Ikpong Essien-Udom said the group decided to visit the member to interact with him given his effective representation of the people in the green chamber.

In his response, Mr Luke thanked the group for finding time to visit him and for also projecting his work and activities in the House. He also thanked the members for the support they have been giving to Governor Udom Emmanuel. ‘Thank you for what you are doing to support Governor Udom Emmanuel. Thank you for doing everything to sustain the legacies of the Governor’, Luke said.

The lawmaker further informed the group of his purpose in the lower House. ‘I came to the House with key legislative areas – Healthcare, Education, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Community Development – in mind, and I have been working to meet these objectives for the greater benefits of the people of my Constituency.’

According to Luke; ‘The pen profession has an important role to play in governance, so I charge you to set narrative and standards as basis to assess governance and leadership recruitment in the state’.

The members of the group thanked the Luke for making out time to see them and commended him for being outstanding in the House.

The state co-ordinator of the group was joined in the visit by Samuel Etuk, Fortune Archibong, Samuel Akpan, Cornel Esen and Oto Ikpe.




A Non Governmental Organization, Accountability Lab Nigeria, has claimed that samples collected in Upenekang Community, Ibeno Local Government Area and Uquo community in Esit Eket Local Government Area indicated that reasons for slow-paced development in these communities are due to diversion of funds meant for development of these areas by Government Officials.

Program and Learning Manager of the Organization, Ehi Grace stated this on Thursday, during a Community Town Hall meeting to discuss findings from the Civic Acts Community Survey in Upenekang and Uquo in Ibeno and Esit Eket LGAs respectively.

Ehi explained that the claim was based on research findings by the NGO in collaboration with Ford Foundation, a Non Governmental Organization.

According to her, “the Civic Action Team Project which is geared towards collecting critical information from communities to solve daily problems for marginalised Citizens as well as strengthen the communities’ ability to self advocate ,will help to end impunity within Government by building accountability and improve decision making processes through citizens engagement and inclusion.

Cross section of participants during the town hall meeting recently. 

“Our primary objective is to ensure communities in the Niger Delta have an improved understanding of their rights and is better equipped to advocate for improved policies in Public and Private decision making spaces, hence, critical data was collected from communities on what is their challenges, when solving daily problems for marginalised Citizens.” Ehi stated.

Furthering, she said that key findings from the survey sample shows that community members have been marginalised from Government programs and projects such as, access to free education, Health Care, Clean Water, Good road network, food and subsidized agro materials.

Some of the findings reads, “the very primary need of the project focal communities is electricity.

“There is no equality and fairness with regards to Government appointments,jobs , projects allocation in sampled communities.

“Majority of community members are aware that they can play an active role in holding elected Representatives accountable through effective citizens participation.

“There is no form of cordial relationship between elected Representatives and community members as some do not stay in the communities nor visit often , hence are not aware of their challenges.

Particopants at the meeting.

“Access to information is a key factor preventing women , youth and persons with disabilities from engaging in decision making processes.”

Based on the findings, the Organization recommended developing a social contract policy between Government Stakeholders and the communities, noting that it would impact positively on the communities.



The Uyo Book Club expects no number less than 700 delegates as she plays host to the first ever National Book Clubs and Reading Promoters Conference happening in the city of Uyo this week, Thursday, September 16, 2021 through Saturday, September 18, 2021.

This was disclosed on Tuesday during a press brief by the Local Organising Committee of the Club as part of activities heralding the first ever Book Fiesta in Nigeria.

According to the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee and Patron of Uyo Book Club, Hon. Ekong Sampson, said, the conference will help to re-engineer reading sensibility and promote reading culture which is on a decline.

“The approval is a signpost recognition of the conducive, peaceful and intellectual environment in Akwa Ibom state and is organized to draw attention on the need to reawaken the reading culture in our society. This is done conscious of the fact that we must use the book to fight ignorance and superstition, two weaknesses that have held Africa down.”

He also said the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria choose the city of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State to host its first ever Book Conference due to the peaceful and intellect ambience of the state.

“We are delighted to inform you and indeed the entire world that the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria has approved Uyo to host its first ever National Conference.

He added that “Nigeria can be reinvented if we turn to the book.”

The Founder of Uyo Book Club, Dr. Udeme Nana said the philosophy of the club includes sharpening of people’s sensibility through reading books.

He added that the multiplier effect of a society filled with readers is the springing up of more readers, writers, publishers, publishing houses, editors, etc.

“We are looking forward to where writers are birth as an off-shoot of the conference.”

However, the conference which will take place at Watbridge Hotels & Suites, Uyo will feature over 40 Book and Literary clubs drawn from across Nigeria. There will be reviews, keynote speeches, tours, presentations by various clubs, spoken word, festschrifts, drama, cultural variety, Mbuk Nnyin – Our Stories and Local delicacies.

Also, there will be a visit to historical sites in the state and the rich array of its famed culture. Exhibitions, cultural fiesta, recreational activities, tours, book reviews, drama, interactive sessions, publications, among others.

The organisers promised that the event will be beamed live on social media platforms for the benefit of  international publics of the Club.

Meanwhile, Dr. Martins Akpan said there will be a standby medical team which will attend to the health needs of participants through the Conference.

The Opening Ceremony which comes up on Friday September, 17, 2021 by 10am will be chaired by Chief Assam Assam, SAN, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Russia while Prof. Felicia Etim, University Librarian, Federal University, Otuoke will be the Keynote Speaker.

Renowned writers and intellectuals including; Dr. Wale Okediran, Dike Chukwumerije, Des Wilson, Ini Iteh, Moses Ibanga Akpabio, Joe Ushie, Ekong Sampson, Ofuma Agali, Udeme Nana, Precious Semaediong, Anietie Usen, Martin Akpan, Aniedi Etim, Ndueso Young, etc, will all serenade the conference with their stories and presentations.

In the Conference, Uyo is expected to be officially declared as ‘Nigeria’s  Book Clubs City,’ which is unprecedented in the Country.

The high point of the media brief was the launching of the official website of Uyo Book Club; www.uyobookclub.org.

© Enwono-Abasi Elisha.



With the lots of fund leakages in the Nigerian financial system, especially in the extractive sector which is the oil, gas and solid minerals, the media as the watch dog are committed to unravel this veil over the Nigerian economy.

This was the aim of Policy Alert’s one day workshop on ‘Extractive Sector Data Journalism’ organised for the media in Akwa Ibom State in collaboration with Nigeria Union of Journalist, Akwa Ibom State Council at NUJ Centre, Information Drive -Uyo, Monday.

According to the Executive Director of Policy Alert, Mr. Tijah Bolton-Akpan said there is need for the media to be equipped to unraveled the myth which had covered the financial aspect in the extractive sector of the country through effective data journalism.

“The media is an important accountability actor in the extractive sector. The media has the traditional role to inform educate and investigate. Especially, given to the fact that the sector is coming from an era of obesity, secrecy surrounding transactions and payment by international oil and mining companies. What actually is the Government receipts from this IOCs. You will then realise in between the lines, a lot get lost under the table out of the revenues that should actually get to the coffers of Government. Alot of illicit financial flow happens from Nigeria to foreign jurisdictions. This is because the extractive sector, especially oil and gas, has a lot which citizens do not understand and is complex. They don’t know how the sector works.

“It is rather technical and alot of things have been hidden under the veneer of technicalities and specialized domain. All that combine together has created a sector so steeped in the shadows. Journalists have the role to uncover those shadows. To shine the light as it were on the sector. Not just Journalists, a lot of accountability actors like; Civil Society advocates, Legislators have very important role.

“Today’s own was for the media. What can the media do to interpret and make sense out of the data. We’ve had lots and lots of data flowing out of the reforms that have happened over two decades ago, right from 2004. All those data gave meaning in terms of holding the government accountable. But we have not seen that same kind of conversion of these data into accountability. On one hand we are seeing transparency which is accountability but we have not seen people being brought to book for some of the crimes they have committed against the Nigerian states through the things that are happening in the sector.

“So, the media has a very important role in shinning the light on this sector, in interpreting the data, in telling creative and meaningful stories that can connect the dots between all that very boring and hard data with the actual every day lives of the citizens especially the host communities. The people’s whose lives are directly affected by the exploration and extraction of oil and gas, solid minerals in Nigeria,” Mr. Tijah Bolton-Akpan said.

In his lecture, Mr. Cletus Ukpong who is the Assistant Editor and the Regional Editor South-South of Premium Times News blog, revealed the importance of Journalists equipping themselves with relevant laws guiding operating oil companies in the Country.

He said there is need for media personnel who are to become efficient data specialists in the profession not to neglect annual reports of these IOCs as there are much data willing to talk.

In his topic, ‘Uncovering the news – Skills and tools for investigative Journalism,’ Mr. Ukpong said it is high time the media practitioners in the state used data as a tool in investigative reporting. He however opined that there are available website links which are platforms for connecting with the activities of the players in the Extractive sector in Nigeria which include the Nigerian Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

Still in the lecture session, the CEO, Dataphyte, Mr. Joshua Olufemi, said
the essential of data journalism and good visualization can not be under rated in today’s investigative reporting.

Being represented by Mr. Charles Mbah of Dataphyte, he added that telling stories with pictorials (graphs and diagrams) serves time and even enhance better comprehension. Also, the importance of humanising an investigative story was put to bare.

While revealing the concept of ‘WetinWeGain2’ project, the Programme Officer – Extractives, Energy and Climate Justice of Policy Alert, Mr. Mfon Gabriel said the project is to enable the contracts of IOCs with Government to be transparent and the impact on the people revealed.

In his words, “Some of the community members do not have access to these MoUs. We want to see how we can make this available in public domain.”

Several goodwill messages were received from organisations and individuals.

In his goodwill message, the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalist, Akwa Ibom State Council, Cmd Amos Etuk thanked the organisers for believing in the visions and ideologies of the Union.
He said he hopes for a stronger partnership in future for more members to participate in the training.

The NUJ Chairman said his leadership emphasis on training and retraining of media professionals is on track and he is glad that the workshop will add up in the investigative aspect of Journalism in the state.

Each of the session opened up heated interface with participants and resource persons divulged methods and ways of extracting information from online sites for transparency, public good and advancement of the country.



The Township Drivers Association of Akwa Ibom State has sent a Save Our Soul (SOS) to the State Government, lamenting of inducement of multiple ticketing by Ministry of Transport (MOT) Taskforce on their transport business.

They said the development has deprived them of a meaningful livelihood which has brought a negative toll on their survival in the face of economic down turn.

The Township Drivers made the call yesterday, Thursday – September 9, 2021 as they took to the street a peaceful protest with a stopover at the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

According to the leader of the team who is also the Public Relations Officer (P.R.O) of the Association, Cmd Bassey Udofia, “We came to meet the number three man of the state to present our concerns since our previous meeting with the Transport Commissioner proved abortive.”

Leader of the protesting team of Township Drivers Association of Akwa Ibom State addressing the members.

He went ahead to explain that the Association had previously embarked on a similar peaceful protest which attracted the attention of the Commissioner of Transport and Solid Mineral, Hon. Uno Etim Uno.

According to the group, the Commissioner debunked he was not aware of the multiple ticketing and illegal extortion of money by MOT taskforce. Then, the Commissioner assured the Drivers that the scenario will not repeat itself and promised to look into the matter.

The Drivers on Thursday protest said they were alarmed to witness the same MOT taskforce coming back to the street to terrorize drivers with the same illegal extortion.

“Yesterday, the so-called MOT enforcement team came out to terrorize Drivers again. We wanted to meet the Commissioner but we decided to intimate the lawmaking body of the state which is called the ‘People’s Assembly,’ of what indigenes of Akwa Ibom State who take to transport business are going through in their own state.”

The Drivers decry of multiple levies placed on them by both the MOT taskforce and ‘Agbero’ group.

Protesting Drivers.

Contained in a document previously submitted to the Commissioner for Transport and Solid Mineral are 12 point demands by the Association to address their plight.

In part, they demanded; “The immediate withdrawal of a circular dated, 14/2/2020 and which has been effected since 1st July, 2020 from Board of Internal Revenue Service increasing the price of Roadworthiness renewal from N1,500 to N5,300 and now further increased to N9,800.

“We want the immediate end of this embarrassment/harassment by the following on Township Drivers in Akwa Ibom State: MOT taskforce, Men of Nigerian Police Force (Traffic Warden) who leaves their mandate of controlling traffic situation within the state to indulge in extortion, Anti-Touting Taskforce Team headed by one Mr. Blessing Ukim who has been terrorizing our drivers and extorting huge amount of money as high as N50,000 in the name of driving out-off our designated routes or wrong parking,
VIO charges of N75,000 for booked vehicles and a stop to the impounding of our vehicles over wrong parking as there is no designated bust-stops. ‘You can not place something on nothing’ and expect it to stand and demand huge amount from us before our vehicles are released.”

They also demanded end of multiple ticketing which is as high as N950 daily within the four LGAs that make up Uyo capital city. Outside these four LGAs, going farther to a LGA like Oron will require purchase of a N700 ticket plus the one previously bought per day.

Purchase of LG emblem for N5,500 and the sales of MOT waste basket at the cost of N5,000 (Defaulters charged N30,000), city permit at the rate of N5,000, they cried is on a high side for drivers. Also, about N25,000 is required to get their impounded vehicles released.

The group further said ‘Agbero’s’ welfare of N200/day for 7 years has amounted to N18b or N19b. They expressed fear of insecurity for such monies to be in the coffers of ‘Agberos.’

The delayed intervention of the state government in providing buses has left drivers to private individuals whose hired purchase price has become exorbitant, the group further lamented.

They also pleaded with the state government to scrap TEON, a consultant for revenue collection whose team led by one Mfon Okon Edet has been employing thuggery and violent method in collecting revenue from drivers.

After meeting with the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey, he promised to consult with relevant stakeholders in the sector to address the issue.

He urged the drivers to be law abiding, assuring them that the impounded vehicle of one of them, Victor Ediong will be released.



The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has waded into the communal crisis between Ikot Ebak village in Mkpat Enin LGA and Enen Atai village in Oruk Anam LGA.

This was a matter of Urgent Public Importance brought to the floor of the House by Hon. Victor Ekwere of Mkpat Enin State Constituency during Tuesday plenary.

According to the mover of the motion, “lives and properties in the villages involved in the land dispute are exposed to danger. People are not safe as there is serious tension in the land.”

“Recently, commuters travelling to Ikot Abasi LGA were asked to suspend their journey for hours because of the fight in a section of the road leading to Ikot Abasi LGA.”

He went ahead to explain how the crisis has degenerated to robbery, kidnapping by miscreants who take advantage of the situation.

The Mkpat Enin member urged the House to direct security agencies to move into action and restore peace to Ikot Ebak and the neighbouring village.

The Member representing Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko moved for the matter to be received by the House and was seconded by Hon. Mfon Idung of Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency.

Meanwhile, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey who presided over the plenary session referred the matter to the House Committee on Boundary and Conflict Resolution to report back to the House within one month.

Also during Tuesday plenary, Rt. Hon. Aniefiok Denis of Etinan State Constituency moved a motion calling on the State Government to be proactive as cholera has broken out in 23 states of the federation.

The motion entitled ‘As Cholera Hits 23 States: Need to take Precautionary Measures in Akwa Ibom State,’ had legislators speaking in support of it.

In his contribution, Rt. Hon. Mark Esset of Nsit Atai State Constituency thanked Etinan member for the proactive information so that the state will not be caught unawares by the outbreak of the disease. He added that there is need to prepare and put up proactive measures to tackle the situation before the disease hits the state.

Also speaking, Rt. Hon. Otobong Bob of Nsit Ubium commended the member of Etinan State Constituency for the motion and noted that a stitch in time saves nine. He added that there is need for relevant agencies of public health to swing into action so that the outbreak does not get the state unawares.

Also contributing, the Chief Whip of the House, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekpenyong said the need for precautionary measures can not be under estimated as neighboring states have been affected.

The motion prays that; “The House should direct the Ministries of Health, Environment, Information and Strategy as well as Ethical and Attitudinal Reorientation Commission, (EARCOM) to as a matter of urgency, embark on rigorous sensitization campaigns on the need for good hygiene and routine sanitation.

“Urge Akwa Ibom State Environment Protection and Waste Management Agency and the Ministry of Environment to redouble effort in evacuating waste and keeping our state clean and green to forestall the outbreak in the state.

“Implore the Ministry of Land and Water Resources and other relevant Ministries and Agencies to intensify effort towards making safe drinking water available for Akwa Ibom people.

The House upheld the prayers contained in the motion and urged the Clerk, Mrs Mandu Umoren to communicate the resolution to relevant agencies of the State Government.

Also, during plenary, a motion for Urgent need to decongest Ikot Ekpene/Ikpa Road Roundabout and other Locations in Uyo Metropolis sponsored by Hon. Victor Ekwere was committed to the House Committee on Works and Transport for in depth study and to report back to the House within one month.

As part of the House Order of the Day, House of Assembly Bill 266 entitled ‘Akwa Ibom State Bureau of Statistics Bill, 2021,’ Sponsored by Rt. Hon. Aniekan Nyong Uko passed through second reading after its first reading on February 9, 2021.

Contributing to the Bill, the Leader, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian said he supports the spirit and letters of the bill as there is need to have a data base for MDAs for an effective information storage system in the state.

Also the Ukanafun representative, Hon. Charity Ido said due to the importance of statistics in the corporate accounting system, the Bill will help in discovering loopholes in governance and will guide in decision making. She also said it will aid to build the state’s confidence in public governance.

In his contribution, the Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo member, Rt. Hon. Uduak Odudoh said his support for the bill is because it exist in majority of the states in the federation.

The Bill was thereafter committed to the House Committee on Economic Planning and Development to report back to the House within one month.

Meanwhile, the House has been adjourned to Thursday, September 9, 2021 by 10:00am prompt.



Enwono-Abasi Elisha

Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency, AKSEPWMA, in a bid to advance its environmental services to Akwa Ibom populace, commences House-House waste disposal in the Ewet Housing and Shelter Afrique axis of the state.

This was part of the third year anniversary speech of the AKSEPWMA Board Chairman, Obong Prince Akpan Ikim today while briefing newsmen in Uyo.

“Evolving innovative initiatives and program for effective service delivery has continuously characterised our operations, so in the concluding part of our third year, we have implemented the following schemes:

“We commenced the  house-to-house waste collection at Ewet housing estate and Shelter Afrique and will inject additional 10 compacting trucks within the two estates to sustain the scheme and in conclusion stream on the scheme in order to boost the revenue base of the state, the trucks are donations of waste management equipment by NDDC as a reward  to the Agency for emerging the cleanest state in NIGERIA back to back.

“We have the procured and deployed 20 numbers of 6000 litres of dump stirs waste receptacles by the agency to transfer stations within Uyo Capital City.”

He also explained that the forward policies of the Agency in handling refuse disposal and sustaining the cleanest environment status earned by the state via the body for three consecutive years since 2018 when the present Board was inaugurated will include; Special sanitation corps; Market sanitation corps; Clean – up club in schools; Community sanitation corps; AKSEPWMA enforcement unit.

“Through our operational models and initiatives, in these three years, Akwa Ibom State has emerged the Cleanest State back to back for years: 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively. This achievement is a rare feat for the state since its creation in 1987. And it is hitherto attributable to the effort the agency has conceived in its in-time.”

As part of the Agency’s achievements include conversion of over 15,000 tonnes of enormous municipal and house-hold waste generated on a daily basis in Akwa Ibom State to wealth.

In furtherance to this, Prince Ikim said it will also recreate the wealth from the waste to fossil fuel in order to boost power supply.

“As the chairman of the agency, I am keen on recreating a State of Refuse-to-Riches, where waste generated in Akwa Ibom will be converted to aid power supply and boost our revenue base.”

The Agency also revealed the incorporation of the local communities in its waste management plan which has changed the narrative which was not so before the inception of the present administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.

“We launched community participation in waste management on the 6th day of January, 2021, to create a convenient waste management system in local areas, through partnership with local government councils. It has since inception aided much local council in waste management and that is what the plan aimed to achieve.

“Around developing countries, it is common  for local communities to be excluded from the master plan of waste management as effort tends to concentrate on urban centers. Back home, Community participation in waste management had suffered a similar fate prior to the governor Udom Emmanuel’s era. But today, we have rewritten the narrative and our local communities are integral partners in waste management programs.”

More achievements of the Agency as elaborated by the Chairman included; improved vegetation of the state’s environment; repealing of the nascent law establishing the Agency in the year 2000 to incorporate updated practices as its concern environmental protection in recent times; positive image appraisal by the public of the State’s environment through the effort of the Agency as it has been rated 45% from fledgling 5% before the inauguration of the present Board; Improved citizens participation in environmental sanitation exercise; ruggedness in helping to fight Covid-19 pandemic during the lockdown; and the Greater Akwa Ibom Clean-up project amongst others.

High point of the event was the unveiling of the corporate logo of the Agency as being part of its rebranding initiative.



2023: COMPPART Foundation commences project to reduce corruption in Nigeria electoral process

A non-governmental organization, COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peace Building, has commenced a project geared towards ensuring electoral accountability and inclusivity in Akwa Ibom State ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The project, which is supported by the MacArthur Foundation through the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center, Abuja, is designed to help in eradicating corrupt practices in the electoral process before, during and after the forthcoming 2023 elections in the state.

This much is contained in a press release signed by the Executive Director of COMPPART, Mr. Saviour Akpan, made available to newsmen, on Thursday.

Akpan said the project is being carried out through sensitization and mobilization of citizens’ groups as well as galvanizing support for and inclusivity among political parties, frontline candidates, critical interest groups, and networks that would involve the electioneering process in Akwa Ibom state.

According to Akpan, “the project is a response to the need to consolidate on the anti-corruption campaigns in Nigeria and prevent potential rollback post 2023 by spreading and strengthening the support-base for anti-corruption.

“Institutional reforms will be implemented with objectives of strengthening citizens’ voices for anti-corruption and social inclusions in the state.

“It will be suggesting affirmative set of actions for official implementation, promoting reforms and institutionalization of anti-corruption, transparency, accountability, social inclusion, and equity in the Nigeria’s electoral process in the state and strengthening partnership among critical state and non-state actors in the electoral process using the coming 2023 general election as a launch pad.

“COMPPART will implement the project using a multi-stakeholders approach that will comprise of electoral bodies, political parties, candidates and political associations, civil Society organizations, traditional rulers and media and at the end will establish Akwa Ibom State Accountability Forum on Corruption”.

Akpan added that COMPPART would also demand for the implementation of new and existing laws, policies and programmes that enhance greater representation and participation of women, performance and material accountability in an anti-corruption environment.

COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peace Building is an Akwa Ibom based non-governmental organization established to serve as a centerpiece in defending citizens’ through improved justice delivery and peace building in order to build confidence in the justice and security sectors.



President Muhammadu Buhari has relieved two ministers of their appointments.

They are the Ministers of Agriculture, Mohammed Sabo Nanono, and his Power counterpart, Engr. Saleh Mamman.

The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar, has been redeployed to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, while the Minister of State for Works, Abubakar Aliyu takes over as Minister of Power.



Enwono-Abasi Elisha

The Nigerian Army has restated its poise to improve its Civil-Military relationship with Nigerians so harmony and trust could be upheld in its activities.

This was the focus of the 14th edition of the Nigerian Army Social Media Influencers Seminar organised by Department of Civil-Military Affairs in conjunction with Security Affairs Limited in Uyo, Monday.

According to the Chief of Civil Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Markus Kangye, the seminar which commenced in 2018 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State has covered 14 States by the outing in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State with the aim of achieving harmonious relationship between the Nigerian Army and the populace.

Pic: Chief of Civil Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Markus Kangye addressing the audience during the Seminar, Monday.

He added that it is the aim of the Nigerian Army to promote information concerning their activities and impact positively on the populace.

“This Seminar which started in 2018 at PortHarcourt, RiversState, is one of the ways the Nigerian Army interacts with the civil populace in order to foster a
harmonious and cordial Civil-Military relations.

“It would interest you to know that it is a continuous event that will enable the Nigerian Army receive feedbacks on how to serve the Nigerian populace better.

“There is no doubt that this forum will again provide us the necessary and needed opportunity to freely interact, discuss,share ideas and rub minds particularly towards eradication of the fake news syndrome.

“Security is everybody’s business and we therefore acknowledge the fact that you all have very important roles to play in the promotion of peace and security in this country. It is very obvious that what you say, the way you say it and how it spreads have far reaching implications than most of us think, because the social media has a very crucial role to play in support of the Nigerian Army’s non-kinetic line of operations as well as shaping public opinion.”

He however noted that the Seminar is one of their non-kinetic tools to tackle insecurity as fake news syndrome has befuddled security information and sector overtime. This he said is unhealthy for public peace and security, thereby, necessitating the outing to bridge the gap between the security and the populace.

The Chief of Civil Military Affairs also lamented how media platforms embraces sensational news items of banditry and terrorism in the country than combating the menace which seem to boost the ill-morale of these terrorist groups.

He however called on the cooperation of social media influencers and other media practitioners not to overrate the activities of these bandit groups rather use their handles to discourage their activities.

Pic: Participants posing during a photo session with the Military Officers.

“I make bold to inform this gathering that the Nigerian Army is making giant strides in the fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country. Unfortunately, such efforts are always under reported thereby undermining the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of our selfless soldiers at tackling insecurity.

“Conversely, most media houses prefer to propagate sensitive reportage that scare and attract negative attention rather than headlines geared towards celebrating the gallantry and efforts of our troops.

“Such acts give credence to the activities of criminals as well as boost the morale and confidence to commit more crimes. We are all aware that cyberspace is the latest domain of modern warfare.

“Therefore, social media presents a veritable tool in influencing and shaping public opinion which are critical in deciding the outcome of battles.

“There is so much that the media can do in support of Nigerian Army operations across the country. For instance, the recent surrendering of Boko Haram insurgents and their humane reception by the Nigerian Army has been perceived negatively by the online community, and by extension Nigerians.

“However, these developments ought to be a testimony of the effectiveness of the efforts put in place by the military to defeat insurgency. It is essential to note that tackling insecurity generally involves the use of kinetic and non kinetic methods.”

He also, noted that over the past five years, the Military has undertaken more than 100 Civil-Military Projects across the country. He lamented most of their feats are under-reported.

He expressed optimism that as the discourse continues, narrative will change and there will be improved communication which will aid fight against terrorism and other forms of insecurity.

Presenting the activities of the Army, Col. KO Ogunsanya explained the various strategies employed to fight Bokoharam which include the Kinetic and Non-kinetic approaches and the other different kinds of operations.

The heated lecture sessions and interaction had one led by Mrs Tayo-Umbule Sheba on the topic ‘Social Media War: New Battlefield Weapon and Strategies Towards Combating Insecurity in Nigeria.’

She argued that the greatest opposition of the Nigerian military is neither banditry nor insecurity but, the conspiracy theories, propaganda and fake news disseminated by social media handlers and users about the activities of the military. This according to her has put the security outfit of the country in disrepute and undermine the gallantry and effort of the security troops.

Also, an effective communication platform on social-media was recommended to be put up by the Nigerian Army to help bridge the information gap and offer the authentic information from the sector to Nigerian populace.

Pic: Conference of Online Publishers Akwa Ibom State (COOPA) displaying their Certificates of Participation after the Seminar.

Another session with a panel of discussants had Barr. Clifford Thomas presenting a paper on ‘Social Media: A Psychological Tool for Successful Non-Kinetic Operations.’

Participants availed themselves of the opportunity as they bare minds on how Nigerian Military can improve their relationship and image with Nigerian public.

The Military also had the opportunity to express their challenges which they are bounded by the oath of service to serve and protect Nigerian territory at all cost.