NIGERIAN ARMY POISE TO IMPROVE CIVIL-MILITARY RELATION

NIGERIAN ARMY ENGAGES SOCIAL-MEDIA INFLUENCERS TO IMPROVE CIVIL-MILITARY INTERFACE

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.

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