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April 22, 2024
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Insecurity: How military can win hearts of Nigerians-Defence chief

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, has reiterated the need for the military to be ahead of terrorists in winning the hearts and minds of the people in the various theatres of operations.

Musa said this on Tuesday in Abuja in his key note address at a seminar organised by the Defence Correspondents Association of Nigeria (DECAN).

The seminar had as theme: “Civil Military Relations: Non-Kinetic Efforts of the Nigerian Military in Security Management, Challenges and Prospects.”

Musa said the Nigerian military had continued to engage in more non-kinetic activities to enhance its effectiveness in combating terrorism and other security challenges in the country.

He said the military all over the world had realised that when dealing with non-state actors,the military and adversaries struggle for the hearts and minds of the citizens.

Musa said that other sectors of the society should be encouraged to take ownership of the situation to be able to contribute meaningfully in defeating multifaceted threats.

According to him, some of the non kinetic activities conducted by the military include “Operation Safe Corridor” designed to deradicalise, rehabilitate and reintegrate repentant members of terrorist groups.

Others, according to him, are civil military cooperation and engagement with key leaders of various communities and stakeholders, especially those impacted on by insecurity as well as veterans.

“Our main focus remains the targeting of the will of the people through combination of soft and non military means,” he said.

According to Musa, the traditional notion of war relying heavily on kinetic means is gradually being relegated while the Nigerian military is seeking to possess and apply non kinetic approaches to project power, secure interests and solve problems.

He said the theme of the seminar was timely considering the the significance of non-kinetic approach in winning the battle against terrorism and other security challenges.

Musa said Nigeria, as a diverse and complex nation, faces myriads of security threats that demand varying attention and concerted efforts to address.

“From separatism, insurgencies and terrorism to intercommunal conflicts, transnational organised crimes and the myriads of other security challenges, the task of securing our nation is formidable and tasking.

“In tackling these threats, we are not unmindful of the shift from seeking victory through kinetic means.

“Though the overall power potential of the country is still being determined by conventional military activities, there is no doubt that the non-kinetic means are becoming more relevant in the power potential of Nigeria.

“The armed forces of Nigeria, being the key driver encountering the myriad of security threats nationwide, has sustained non military and soft strategies as a means to an end of this multifaceted threats,” he said.

Earlier, the President of DECAN, Ismail Musa, said the theme of the event was carefully chosen as a way “ to reshape the minds of journalists toward effective service delivery.”

He said the seminar was part of the noble mandate of the media to educate the public about the ongoing soft approach adopted by the military in the quest to further secure the nation.

The Director General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Jibrin Ndace, who delivered a lecture entitled, “Military Media Relations in the Age of Durable Disorder,” called for closer collaboration between the military and media.

Ndace urged the military to always recognise and respect the professional requirements of the media, adding that timely response by the military to inquiries would enhance such collaboration.

He also called for professional and ethical conduct on the part of the media, adding that national interest should be paramount.

A former spokesman of the Air Force, retired Group Capt. Sadeeq Shehu, also delivered a paper entitled: “Nigerian Media and Security Operations: What Not to Report, What to Report and How to Report it. ”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event had in attendance the spokespersons of the Defence and Services Headquarters as well as other top military officers.(NAN) www.nannews.ng

(Edited by Mufutau Ojo)

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