The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major Gen Ibrahim Attahiru has charged the Nigerian Army to be proactive and responsive to information and public relations management and practices.
Gen Attahiru who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plan, Major General Ben Ahanotu at a 3-day workshop themed: “Respositioning the Nigerian Army Public Relations Towards Addressing Contemporary Communication Challenges” held on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said, “The multiple internal security challenges assailing our country and the imperative of military deployment have increased Nigerian Army’s tasks as defenders of national interests. In view of these continuous emergencies and flashpoints across the country, the Nigerian Army, as the linchpin in internal security operations, is required more than ever before to be proactive and responsive to information and public relations management and practices.
“Our duty as a military is to neutralize the threats that terrorists, bandits, militants and sundry violent elements pose to peace and stability of our country by ensuring that the adversaries are separated from the population. To achieve this, the fight has to cover the physical, psychological and information domains.
“As you all know, the battle field for us in the war against terror and other internal security operations which we are engage is not just in the trenches. Even more ferocious is the battle in the media where the attritional war of narrative is daily raging. Bear it in your minds, therefore, that there are elements in the society whose mission is to attack the credibility and professionalism of our institution and operations using the media.”
He noted that in order to sustain the necessary momentum of security operations, APR officers must strive to salvage the credibility of our operations from those who are bent on discrediting our efforts at every stage. Adding that it is our responsibility to counter those who unduly punch holes in our operations and malign our personnel through all kinds of accusations and allegations aimed at diminishing the integrity of officers or the military authorities in military operations.
“Our counter-terrorism campaign has been a victim of so many misconceptions and falsehood that were disseminated and effectively sustained in the public domain through the instrumentality of the media. And so we must brace up for the antics of those intent on undue fault finding, blame trading and negative story slanting which distracts our mission.
“We must remain conscious of these responsibilities which must be inspired, driven and built on the fundamentals of good reputation that creates goodwill, respectability and acceptability,” he stated.
In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC), Air Commodore Yusuf Anas said that CCC believes that security matters and issues should not be politicized. Therefore we call on leaders at all levels and public to solidly rally behind security agencies.
He stated that the core function of CCC is training and capacity building. This is in recognition of importance of evolving capable hands and private organizations in Nigeria.
Also speaking the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said that this training workshop is entails at enhancing the participants with the capacity building on the challenges of communicating the safety and the operation of the Nigerian Army.
It is hope that at the end of this workshop you will be better positioned to address communication challenges facing the Nigerian Army.