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Galvanise public support for military operations – CDS urges media

According to him, conflict sensitive information management is critical to national development and the manner information is being processed and disseminated to the public could positively or negatively affect national security.

By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, has urged  the media practitioners to use their reportage of the military operations to stimulate public support for the military’s quest to secure the country.

Irabor, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Administration, Rear Adm. Abdul Adamu, made the call at a One-Day Capacity Building Workshop for Defence Correspondents on Tuesday, in Abuja.

The workshop themed, “The Role of Defence Correspondents in Enhancing National Security: Imperatives of Conflict Sensitive Communication,” is to broaden knowledge of Defence Correspondents in understanding nitty-gritty of conflict sensitive communication towards sustainable peace.

Irabor said that collective approach was required to surmount the myriad of security challenges being experienced in different parts of the country.

He said the conventional asymmetric security challenges ranging from insurgency terrorism and banditry, militancy and other sundry crimes demanded a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to address them.

According to him, conflict sensitive information management is critical to national development and the manner information is being processed and disseminated to the public could positively or negatively affect national security.

Irabor expressed confidence that the capacity building workshop would facilitate needed discourse towards identifying viable media approach and collaboration that would support kinetic efforts of the military in combating present and emerging threats.

He assured the media that the Defence Headquarters would continue to partner with them towards building a peaceful, safe and prosperous nation.

Earlier, the Deputy Director Defence Information, Air Commodore Wap Maigida, said the existing asymmetric warfare being engaged in by the nation’s armed forces required an interplay of factors and actors including the media.

Maigida urged the media see themselves as partners with the military with a view to achieving more feats in the theatres of operation.

According to him, unpatriotic and negative reportage by the media over the years, have continue to distort military operations against insurgency, terrorism and more recently banditry.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Media Today International and facilitator, Mr Charles Odenigbo, urged journalists and media organisations to do more of investigative reporting to expose activities of terrorists and enemies of the state.

Odenigbo also enjoined journalists to continue to perform their duties in line with code of ethics guiding the profession, including fairness, objective and balance reportage.

According to him, the code of ethnic for Nigerian journalists entails a high degree of public trust which must be earn by observing highest professional and ethical standard.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lead paper titled, “The Role of Defence Correspondents in Enhancing National Security: Imperative of Conflict Sensitive Communication” was delivered by Prof Abiodun Adeniyi, Head of Mass Communication Department, Baze University, Abuja.

Adeniyi stated that journalists had the responsibility of ensuring that their reportage of a conflict would not end up escalating such conflict by being fair to all parties.

He also advocated that the media should create opportunity for promoters of peace to express their views.

Other papers delivered include the Overview Military Terminologies delivered by Cdr AB Ayi of the Directorate of Defence Information while the Defence Editor, Blueprint Newspaper, Mr Jibrin Ndace delivered a paper titled “the Challenges of a Defence Correspondent.

Also, Dr Theophilus Abbah, former Editor of the Sunday Trust, delivered a paper titled “the Journalist Code of Ethics, Conflict of Interest and National Security.

The former Defence Spokesperson, retired Maj.-Gen. Christopher Olukolade and Dayo Ayetan of International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) moderated the panel discussions.

The panelists include the Director Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin sawyer, Dr Okey Ikechukwu, Mr Gbenga Aruleba of AIT, Mr Yushau Shuaib of PR Nigeria and Mr Ben Okezie. (NAN)