The Nigerian Army has expressed concern that most media houses in the country prefer to propagate sensitive reportage that scares and attracts negative attention rather than headlines geared towards celebrating the gallantry and efforts of its troops.
Chief of Civil Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army, Maj. General Markus Kangye spoke Tuesday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital in his opening address presented at 14th edition of social media influencers seminar organised by Department of Civil-Military Affairs in conjunction with Security Affairs Limited with the theme, “The evolving role of the social media in support of the Nigerian Army Non-kinetic line of operations”
Kangye who noted that such sensitive reportage instead gave credence to the activities of criminals as well as boost their morale and confidence to commit more crimes, said the social media has roles to play in enlightening the public against propagation of fake news and enhancing peace and security in the country.
He explained that the seminar which started in 2018 at Port-Harcourt, Rivers State was one of the ways the Nigerian Army interacted with the civil populace in order to foster a harmonious and cordial civil-military relations.
His words, “I make bold to inform this gathering that the Nigerian Army is making giant strides in the fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country. Unfortunately, such efforts are always under reported thereby undermining the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of our selfless soldiers at tackling insecurity.
Conversely, most media houses prefer to propagate sensitive reportage that scare and attract negative attention rather than headlines geared towards celebrating the gallantry and efforts of our troops.
“Such acts give credence to the activities of criminals as well as boost the morale and confidence to commit more crimes. We are all aware that cyberspace is the latest domain of modern warfare. Therefore, social media presents a veritable tool in influencing and shaping public opinion which are critical in deciding the outcome of battles.
“There is so much that the media can do in support of Nigerian Army operations across the country. For instance, the recent surrendering of Boko Haram insurgents and their humane reception by the Nigerian Army has been perceived negatively by the online community, and by extension Nigerians.
“However, these developments ought to be a testimony of the effectiveness of the efforts put in place by the military to defeat insurgency. It is essential to note that tackling insecurity generally involves the use of kinetic and non kinetic methods”.
The CCMA of the Nigerian Army, however, explained that both the kinetic and Non-kinetic methods are complementary, adding that a situations where criminals were encouraged to surrender do not mean they would evade prosecution for crimes committed.
He noted that the seminar which also provides the necessary and needed opportunity for participants to freely interact, discuss, share ideas and rub minds particularly towards eradication of fake news syndrome was a continuous event that would enable the Nigerian Army receive feedback on how to serve the Nigerian populace better.
“Therefore, it is necessary for the media bloggers/Online journalists to know and enlighten the populace on the dangers of misinformation or misrepresentation of same for the general security of our dear nation.
“Security is everybody’s business and we therefore acknowledge the fact that you all have very important roles to play in the promotion of peace and security in this country.
“It is very obvious that what you say, the way you say it and how it spreads have far reaching implications than most of us think, because the social media has a very crucial role to play in support of the Nigerian Army’s non-kinetic line of operations as well as shaping public opinion.
“However, with the vigour and enthusiasm of the current leadership of the Nigerian Army, I am optimistic that the narratives and perspectives will change from today as you will begin to see efforts of the Nigerian Army and the many successes recorded in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, would no doubt ensure peace, security and stability in our dear country”, Kangye stated.
Durung the interactive session, a human rights activist and executive director of COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peace Building, Mr Saviour Akpan knocked security agencies inability to keep volunteered information confidential, stressing, “We need to understand the fact that a the greatest insecurity in Nigeria is not Boko Haram, kidnapping, banditry, or farmers/Herders crisis.
“The greatest insecurity in Nigeria is the fact that Nigerians do not trust our security because it has been so bastardized to a point that security agencies do not have the capacity to manage information volunteered to them by the public.
“By the time you give information to a security personnel before you get to your house the culprit will stop you and threaten you, so people no longer trust giving information to security personnel”
The Seminar which was held at Watbridge Hotel & Suites Uyo, featured paper presentation entitled “Social Media Conspiracy Theories, Propaganda, and Fake news: Effects on Nigeria’s Peace and security” and “Social Media: A Psychological tool for successful Non-kinetic Operations”
Vanguard News Nigeria