Distinguished invited guests, gentlemen of the press, participants, student officers and soldiers gathered here for the DAPR Fourth Quarter Study Period and Media Workshop 2016. It is an honour to most respectfully recognize and welcome the Special Guest of Honour and indeed the Guest Speaker, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army, who is ably represented by Major General PJO Boje, the Chief of Civil Military Affairs (CCMA), and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adeshina along with other senior military officers and distinguished invited guests in our midst today.
The DAPR and the NASPRI previous fourth quarter study periods and media workshops have been a veritable platform where robust interaction and cross fertilization of ideas between Resource Persons, Journalists/Defence Correspondents and Military Information Managers across the theatres of military operations.
The year 2016 study period and media workshop which is part of the training schedule of the Nigerian Army promises to be more interesting and beneficial as we have some Commanding Officers of units located in the North East and other parts of the country as participants.
Their participation in this study period is crucial to the overall success of the Nigerian Army’s Counter Insurgency Operations, Peacekeeping Operations as well and other Internal Security Operations where professional management of information and media relations are indispensable.
Additionally, we have also invited four (4) journalists from Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to further enrich the workshop. I believe their presence and personal experiences will add value to this important training programme.
The theme for this quarter’s study period is ”New Generation Warfare: The Dynamics of Information Management”. It is intended to examine the role information management officers play in theatres of operation.
The choice of this theme could not have been more apt and timely considering the myriad of avenues aggressors are putting information out there and its impact on combatants and passive consumers of these information.
The choice of the COAS as lead paper presenter, underscores the premium the Directorate of Army Public Relations placed on “New Generation Warfare” and the opportunity this platform affords the Nigerian Army to dialogue with fellow Nigerians.
It is also an opportunity for us at the DAPR to rub minds with journalists especially in the western part of the country, far removed from the immediate direct impact of the ongoing war against insurgency in the north east and militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Similarly, it is our desire to further generate more awareness, active participation and patriotic support of our military operations especially from the media and all Nigerians, while we continue to support and project the Nigerian Army in the best possible light.
It is our intention to use this forum to implore for more positive coverage and reporting of NA activities with due observance of the principles of accuracy, responsibility, security and propriety by the media. I wish to reiterate the Nigerian Army’s resolve to promote free flow of information on its activities, exercises and operations, locally and internationally.
This is in consonance with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff which is to ensure he commands a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.
With the current attention being paid to discharging its constitutional duties in line with international human rights best practices, the Army is poised to sustain its reputation to effectively execute its constitutional responsibilities, especially in Internal Security, Counter Insurgency and Peacekeeping Operations.
The COAS, Senior Officers, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, so much as the Army strives to sustain its cordial relationship with the media, it is necessary to address a situation where its successes are often down played while opinions that tend to portray the NA in negative light are being amplified, despite NA’s genuine efforts to put the records straight.
More so, it is unfair that while the NA has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to democratic rule and values, promotion and respect for Human Rights and above all conduct its operations in line with the Rules of Engagement (ROE), attempts are still being made to whip up anti-military sentiments through unwarranted antagonism from some media outlets.
This however would not deter efforts to continually discharge our duties of informing the public on the activities of the Nigerian Army without fear or favour.
We shall continue to inform the media and well-meaning Nigerians on the army’s values, efforts, successes and challenges.
It is vital at this juncture, to reiterate, that in the pursuit of the attainment of national security for our nation and citizenry, the continuous collaboration of the media and well-meaning Nigerians with the Nigerian Army cannot be over emphasized.
It is on this note; I warmly welcome our invited guests, resource persons, discussants and participants who have turned up for this study period and media workshop.
We urge you to take due advantage of this forum to discuss issues that will enhance our performance in discharging our constitutional roles.
Permit me to acknowledge the contribution and support of the COAS, Lieutenant General TY Buratai and state emphatically, that the DAPR have had it so good under his able leadership.
The COAS has created an enabling and conducive atmosphere for us to work and operate which brought out the best in us.
To demonstrate this, he sponsored 5 officers of this Directorate and 5 journalists from various media houses for a one week course on “Protecting Journalists during Conflicts” at the Multinational Peacekeeping Training Centre, Kilkis, Greece.
He has approved the take-off grant for NASPRI, provided a 50KVA generator, established a radio studio, approved and released training grant, state of the art editing facilities, office renovation and subventions for the publication of the Nigerian Army News Journal, THE SOJA MAGAZINE and above all, the planned relocation of NASPRI to a more befitting location, just to mention but a few.
The COAS Sir, we are indeed most grateful. I want to reassure you of our unalloyed loyalty and dedication to duty. I would like to acknowledge the tremendous support of the various Principal Staff officers at the Army Headquarters, Corps and formations commanders in particular, General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Major General Ebenezer Babatunde Oyefolu over time and particularly towards ensuring a successful hosting of this event.
It is apparent to all participants by now, that the resources and facilities made available to this forum are testimonies of their efforts aimed at ensuring that we have a hitch-free programme.
Once again, I welcome our esteemed guests, resource persons, officers, soldiers and Defence Correspondents to this event. I implore you to please listen to all presentations with rapt attention and actively participate during the interactive session.
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