CDS wants NAN to educate Nigerians on military engagements

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Sumaila Ogbaje

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa, has urged the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to use its wide reach to educate Nigerians on the sacrifices made by the military toward stabilising the country.

He also urged NAN to support the military as it strives to ensure peace in every corner of the country.

He observed that there was still a low level of understanding of the military as a strategic national institution that is there for all Nigerians.

Musa spoke on Friday when the Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Malam Ali Muhammad Ali, led the agency’s management team on a courtesy visit to the Defence Headquarters, Abuja.

He said that the lack of understanding was why some uninformed Nigerians tend to regard personnel of the armed forces as enemies instead of reliable friends committed to a peaceful Nigeria.

“What we realised again is, a lot of Nigerians really don’t have a lot of understanding of what the military is all about.

“Because of the past military regimes, a lot of sentiments have been there and so people view us with a kind of suspicion here and there.

“I am happy that since the arrival of democracy, we are here to defend and protect democracy and ensure that it thrives.

“For us, democracy will benefit us more because during military regime, we were also clamped down.

“That is why it is important for Nigerians to understand that this is their own armed forces, and the armed forces is here to protect them so that everybody will be happy in his own land,” Musa said.

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The CDS said that the media, especially NAN, had played a key role in the achievements recorded by the military in the war against insurgency in the North-East.

“The media was partly instrumental to my successes as Theatre Commander, so I want to commend you for that consistency, for your ability to report despite all the challenges.

“For me, the media has remained a very good partner; media made my job a lot easier because we were able to reach out even to the terrorists themselves in bushes and that is why they started surrendering.

“It started in July 2021, until I left in January 2023 and now, we have over 120,000 and still counting.

“So I think that is a gain, because they have been able to reach out because of the information they’ve been reading.

“Those of them that were deceived found out that they were being lied to.

“The impression they gave them was that any time they come out, the military was never going to spare them, but we made them understand that we knew that not all of them were involved.

“Some of them were conscripted, some were forced. So, we were able to identify those areas and even the ones that were part of it also saw the light and decided to come out,” he said.

The CDS, particularly commended NAN for its professionalism and its ability to positively project Nigeria to the world and also help people to understand the impact of the Nigerian story.

Musa pledged to partner with NAN to ensure that people got proper awareness that the military is their own and also understand that the challenge of Nigeria is their own challenge too.

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He also urged all Nigerians to join hands to make sure that the nation works, adding that it could only succeed if all Nigerians worked together.

He pledged that the military would remain transparent and professional in its dealings with the media and all Nigerians.

Earlier, Ali commended the defence chief over the handling of the recent killing of army personnel in Okuama community in Delta.

Ali said the exemplary leadership of the CDS had made the military to remain calm and exercise caution in the face of repeated provocations.

He said the task before the armed forces of Nigeria was enormous, and encouraged the military to continue to make sacrifices to keep the country safe.

The managing director said the visit was to express solidarity with the armed forces of Nigeria and partner with it to promote national security.

“We commend all of you because the amount of sacrifice of lives and limbs cannot be quantified.

*We are here all the time praying for the armed forces of Nigeria and some of you who are piloting the affairs.

“Our role is to report Nigeria to Africa and Africa to the rest of the world. I want to also intimate you that being the biggest news agency on the continent, we have offices in some parts of Africa.

“At a point we had eleven foreign offices beyond the shores of the continent of Africa. We had in Moscow, in the UK and of course, we are still in the US in the UN.

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“We are the only resident news agency in the United Nations,” he said.

The NAN boss solicited the support and buy in of the CDS to the programmes initiated by the agency to galvanise support for the military and promote national security. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed and Ephraims Sheyin

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