By Sumaila Ogbaje
The newly appointed Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, on Friday, assumed office with a call to the media to support the military to achieve its mandate of defending the country.
Sawyerr took over from Air Commodore Wap Maigida, who had been acting following the appointment of the former Director, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu as Director, Army Public Relations in June.
Sawyerr was the Commandant of the Nigerian Army Armour School Bauchi, before his new appointment.
In his address, he said the new assignment was a clarion call for him to contribute his quota towards the realisation of the leadership focus of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
He said the leadership focus of the CDS was, “To Foster a Professional Armed Forces capable of effectively meeting its constitutional imperatives.”
The spokesperson said the leadership focus was being pursued vigourously in a professional manner, saying it would require the support of the media at all times.
Sawyerr stated that his responsibilities were to project the Nigerian armed forces, galvanise the support of the media and the citizens for all military engagements.
He stated that the military, in synergy with other security agencies, had continued to work round the clock to surmount the nation’s numerous security challenges.
“These ugly developments, which have continued to affect the peaceful co-existence of the citizens of our dear country, would in no distant time be a thing of the past.
“I must, therefore, be quick to say that the media which is commonly referred to as the fourth estate of the realm is a vital component in the entire process.
“Let me, therefore, solicit the support of media operators in all spectrums to consider jettisoning sensational headlines that give undue publicity to perpetrators of acts of criminality that tend to undermine our national security,” he said.
Sawyerr commended the Defence Correspondents for exhibiting a high sense of professionalism in the reportage of the fight against domestic and foreign adversaries over the years.
According to him, it is ethical and patriotic to be objective, fair and balanced in media coverage and reportage.
“I want to also encourage you to maintain these journalistic virtues as you redouble your efforts in supporting the AFN to ensure that the needed peace is restored in all the troubled parts of our dear nation.
“Let me assure you of an open door policy and honest communication parameters that are proactive and responsive.
“It is important that we remain patriotic and responsive by providing credible, timely and actionable information to aid the armed forces and other security agencies in performing their constitutional roles,” he said.
Earlier, the outgoing Acting Director, Maigida, assured the new director of the unalloyed commitment and support of the entire staff of the directorate towards the attainment of set objectives.
Maigida said the media had been a veritable partner in galvanising goodwill and support for the military in the quest of maintaining national security, peaceful and harmonious coexistence among Nigerians.
He urged the defence correspondents to continue to support the new director to succeed in his assignment.
“I would like to express my profound appreciation to officers and men as well as civilian staff for their dedication and commitment during this period.
“I urge you all to extend the same vigour and strength to our incumbent director so as to enable us take the directorate to greater height,” he said. (NAN)