By AGATHA NWOKOCHA, Abuja
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen T A. Lagbaja Tuesday reiterated the readiness of the Nigerian Army to continue to perform its constitutional role of defending national security.
“May I reiterate that the Nigerian Army remains highly committed to her constitutional role of defending the nation and as well ensuring her democratic stability.
“ We are readily available to fully support the civil authority in whatever capacity that guarantees the protection of our citizens and their properties which is considered the only panacea for development and progress in the country”, the COAS said at the occasion of Directorate of Army Public Relations Study Period/ Nigerian Army School Of Public Relations and Information Media Workshop, held yesterday at the Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare School in Abuja.
He added, “We remain resolute in expending all resources at our disposal to ensure that elements of subversion, criminals and other enemies of the state do not succeed in destabilizing our great nation”.
In his speech, the COAS who was represented by a senior officer, Maj Gen AA Angbaolu noted that the workshop would “Harnessing the Potentials of Media for Effective Military Operations within a Joint Environment”.
“This year’s edition is focused on harnessing the potentials of the media as a force multiplier for effective military operations”, he stressed.
According to him, the workshop is organized for Officers of the Army Public Relations, Commanding Officers, Defence Correspondents, media stake holders and other Online Publishers.
Speaking further, he said, “today’s security environment is characterized by several security challenges, such as insurgency, armed banditry, separatist agitations, kidnapping amongst other contemporary security challenges. It is important to note that war in the 21st century though fought in the battle.
Bests are won or lost in the cyber space”.
He emphasized the importance of collaboration with the media, saying, “in achieving this, the Nigerian Army is ready to continue to cooperate fully with the media”.
Lagbaja used the occasion to charge officers and soldiers to be disciplined, dedicated and maintain professionalism in all their activities.
He assured that, the Nigerian Army will among other aspects of human development, continue to build the capacity of our personnel through training of this kind both at home and abroad.
He urged the participants to apply the knowledge and ideas gathered here towards ensuring that all forms of criminal activities that constitute a threat to our national cohesion are stamped out, not only through tactical means, but with effective information sharing and reportage across board.
“It is only through effective collaboration and partnership in all spheres of national security that the noble course of proffering workable strategy and enhanced mutual support amongst relevant stakeholders can be achieved”.
In his welcome address the Acting Commandant Nigerian Army School of Public Relations And Information Lt Col AY Ngulde underscored the pivotal role of the media in contemporary security issues and challenges.
The Ag Commandant noted also, “It is high time we realize that in modern warfare, the media plays a pivotal role for any successful military operations. This is because the cyberspace has become the ultimate decider of who wins or loses a war”.
He explained, “Therefore, the need to always collaborate with the media for a successful military operation becomes paramount for promoting the right narratives. This further necessitated the choice of the theme for this workshop”.
He called for urgent need to eliminate and avoid media antipathy. Furthermore, Ngulde stated, “this is necessary because the security challenges confronting our dear nation require a robust synergy between the security agencies and the media while playing their various roles in maintaining national security”. He maintained that the consequences of discordant relationship between security agencies and the media can culminate into increased public apathy or diminished public trust in the abilities of security agencies to perform their constitutional roles.
The Commandant reminded the media of its statutory role under the social responsibility theory of the press to always take national security into consideration while carrying out their duty.
He equally harped on the need for constant interaction between the military and the media, saying it has become necessary through a veritable platform.
“Such platform is what this media workshop has created and it is my candid belief that the topics carefully selected for discuss will do justice to issues bothering effect of media reportage on national security and the implication of fake news during military operations”, he stated.