By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has identified the media as a force multiplier in effective military operations.
Lagbaja said this at the opening of the Directorate of Army Public Relations study period and Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI) 2023 Media Workshop, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He was represented at the workshop with the theme, “Harnessing the Potentials of Media for Effective Military Operations within a Joint Environment”, by the Commander Nigerian Army Cyber Warfare Command, Maj.-Gen. Adeleke Ayannuga.
The workshop was organised for officers of Army Public Relations, Commanding Officers, Defence Correspondents and media stakeholders.
Lagbaja said the current security environment had been characterised by insurgency, armed banditry, separatist agitations, and kidnapping amongst other contemporary security challenges.
He said that war in the 21st century, though fought in the battle field, are won or lost mostly in the cyber space, hence the need to recognise the importance of the media in achieving successful military operations.
According to him, the media shapes not only the narratives but influences and garners public support which is vital for a successful military operation.
“To this end, the continuous and seamless collaboration between the Nigerian Army and the media must be maintained at all times.
“Consequently, this important gathering is to remind us that the Nigerian Army in particular and the armed forces in general relies on the support of the media to perform their statutory roles as enshrined in the constitution.
“It is pertinent to note that through effective media collaboration, we have recorded commendable successes in joint operations across the nation.
“I therefore, urge you all to ensure that the synergy be aggressively sustained so that our respective mandates could be holistically dissected to compliment and create the understanding of our various constitutional roles towards achieving peace and security,” he said.
The COAS reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian army to defending the nation and as well ensuring democratic stability.
He assured that the army was readily available to fully support the civil authority in whatever capacity that guarantees the protection of citizens and their properties.
Lagbaja added that the army would remain resolute in expending all resources at its disposal to ensure that elements of subversion, criminals and other enemies of the state do not succeed in destabilizing Nigeria.
“In achieving this, the Nigerian Army is ready to continue to cooperate fully with the media.
“To this end, I charge officers and soldiers to be disciplined, dedicated and maintain professionalism in all their activities.
”We 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 added.
In his welcome remarks, the Acting Commandant of NASPRI, Lt.-Col. Adamu Ngulde, said the workshop was to discuss contemporary media and security issues, in view of the importance of the media in modern warfare.
He said that working closely with the the media would “promote the right narratives” during military operations.
According to him, it is important for military spokesmen and commanders to avoid media antipathy, as it would pose greater threat on national security.
“The fact that our nation is faced with security challenges, behooves on relevant security agencies whose responsibilities is to confront these challenges to work together.
”While being supported by the media to project and saturate the cyberspace with operational successes as well as countering the narratives of the adversary.
“It is also important to note that the media has a statutory role under the social responsibility theory of the press to always take national security into consideration while carrying out their duty.
“The engagement of the military in internal security operations has exposed them to operational challenges arising from day to day processes in carrying out their duty.
”Thus the need to woo public support through winning the hearts and minds of the populace for the success of these operations becomes inevitable,” he said. (NAN)
Edited by Yakubu Uba/Maharazu Ahmed