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Under-reporting/Misrepresentation of facts concerning internal security operations by the military in the media has negative impact of troops Morale-Usman

Text of Welcome Address by Brig-General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director, Army Public Relations, at a Media Workshop and Combined 2nd/3rd Quarter Study Period 2017, at Nigerian Army Resource Centre from 3-5 October 2017

 

It is a great honour and privilege for me to on behalf of officers and soldiers of the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) welcome you all to DAPR Media Workshop and combined Second/Third Quarter Study Period 2017.

It is a great honour to most respectfully recognize and welcome the Special Guest of Honour, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army, here ably represented by Major General JS Malu, Commander, Army Headquarters Garrison in our midst today.

The DAPR study period and media workshops over the years have been a veritable platform for robust interaction and cross fertilization of ideas between Resource Persons, moderators and participants.

The year 2017 study period and media workshop which is part of the training directive of the Nigerian Army, promises to be even more rewarding because of the expanded participation; we have invited Editors, Defence Correspondents, as well as the Deputy Directors of Army Public Relations, Officers and some select soldiers of this Directorate from the field and 21 newly commissioned officers into the Corps.

Their participation in this study period is crucial to the overall success of the Nigerian Army’s Counter Insurgency operations and other Internal Security Operations where professional management of information and media relations are indispensable.

 The theme for this year’s DAPR Media Workshop and combined Second/Third Quarter Study Period “Enhancing Human Rights during Internal Security Operations through Effective Information Management”, was deliberately chosen as it is intended to examine the role information management officers play in the various theatres of operations where the physical battle space is witnessing aggression in the forms of propaganda and psychological warfare which is compounded by advancement in information communication technology.

 Despite that, our troops have been discharging their duties creditably and professionally during Internal Security Operations in aid of Civil Authorities, the fight against terrorism and insurgency, as well as Peacekeeping Operations.

 However, this has often been under-reported or misrepresented by some section of the media and some activists, who continuously portray the Nigerian Army in bad light.

 This has negative impact on troops’ morale and the fighting spirit of the Nigerian Army.

 Therefore, the choice of this theme is apt and timely as it will afford us the opportunity to learn, engage and understand each other with a view of enhancing our professional knowledge and ability to manage and promote the image of the Nigerian Army to more enviable standard.

 I therefore enjoin all the participants to take advantage of this golden opportunity to pay attention, learn and contribute meaningfully.

 Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Nigerian Army has taken some deliberate steps of protection of law abiding citizens in the conduct of all its operations.

 This study period would afford us the opportunity to dialogue with fellow Nigerians through all those that gathered here for the two-day event.

 It is further intended to galvanize active participation, patriotic support and understanding of the Nigerian Army from all and sundry through the participants.

 On our part, we would continue to support and project the Nigerian Army in the best possible light.

 It is our intention to also use this forum to promote positive coverage and reporting of Nigerian Army events with due observance of the principles of accuracy, security and propriety in furtherance of the 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 have 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 Nigerian Army is poised to sustain its reputation of effectiveness and efficiency in the execution of its constitutional responsibilities, especially in Internal Security and Counter Insurgency operations.

 Much as the Nigerian 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 Nigerian Army in negative light are being amplified, despite genuine effort to put the records straight.

 More so, it is unfair that while we repeatedly affirmed our commitment to democratic rule and values, promotion and respect for Human Rights, attempts are still being made to whip up anti-military sentiments through unwarranted antagonism from some media outlets.

 This often manifests itself in the publication of unverified stories or outright posting of false stories and allegations.

 This however would not deter us from determined efforts to continually discharge our duties of informing the public on the activities of the Nigerian Army, highlighting successes or otherwise.

 We shall continue to inform the public and well-meaning Nigerians on the army’s values, efforts, successes and challenges.

 Let me use this opportunity to convey our sincere gratitude to the Special Guest of Honour, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai through his representative for his support to the DAPR since he assumed command of the Nigerian Army in July 2015.

 The areas of intervention are too numerous to mention, suffice to say that this Directorate has never had it so good in its entire history like what we have had in the last 2 years under the able leadership of the Chief of Army Staff.

 He has given us all the support and created an enabling and conducive atmosphere for us to work and operate which brought out the best in us for the benefit of the Nigerian Army.

 We are proud to state that it was due to his exemplary Leadership that the Nigerian Army has attained the enviable status of one of the best public institutions in this country.

 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 all well-meaning Nigerians with the Nigerian Army cannot be over emphasized.

It is on this note that I warmly welcome our invited guests, resource persons, moderators and participants who have turned up for this study period and media workshop.

 I 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 Special Guest of Honour, Lieutenant General TY Buratai.

 It is apparent to all participants by now, that the resources and facilities made available to this forum are testimonies of the Chief of Army Staff’s efforts aimed at ensuring that we have a hitch-free programme.

 I want to put on record, the support and encouragement of the Director General of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Principal Staff Officers, Corps and formations Commanders towards ensuring a successful hosting of this event.

 Once again, I welcome you all, most especially our esteemed invited guests, resource persons, officers, soldiers and the participants to this event.

I implore you to please listen to all presentations with rapt attention and actively participate during the interactive session.

 Thank you and God bless.

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