As part of efforts to sensitize the media towards understanding, appreciating and correctly propagating the use of air power in the defence of the nation’s territorial air, sea and landmass, the Nigerian Air Force on Friday organized a workshop for Defence Correspondents in Abuja.
The workshop specifically focussed on acquainting journalists with the technical knowledge needed for them to report the activities and operations of the NAF more effectively.
Declaring the workshop open, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said it was imperative that a Defence Correspondent understand and indeed know the terminologies associated with the beat to enable him report events professionally.
He said a Defence Correspondent with inadequate knowledge about the military, will not be able to analyse NAF operations effectively.
Represented by the Chief of Administration (COA), Air Vice Marshal Kingsley Lar, the CAS said the need for such workshop has become apt, given the recent emerging trends in the Counter Insurgency Operations in the North East and the emerging security threats in the Northwest of the Country.
He said, “There is growing need now, more than ever before, for journalists to understand the nuances and technicalities involved in military operations as the Nation strives to restore peace in all parts of the Country.
“This Workshop, is an avenue to clear any doubts that you might have about NAF Operations. I am optimistic that this Workshop would go a long way in providing the needed efficiency for Defence Correspondents, especially the cub reporters on this beat, in carrying out their responsibility of informing the public about NAF Operations”, he said.
He enjoined the journalists to make good use of the opportunity to acquire pertinent knowledge about the military from the workshop.
In his welcome address, the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, noted that capacity building which is the hallmark of the current NAF leadership, is the ultimate aim of the Interactive Session.
“That this Interactive Session is holding today is a clear indication of the significance the Chief of the Air Staff attaches to cordial NAF-media relations”, he said.
He disclosed that while there has been some improvement in the level of reportage of the Nigerian Air Force activities in the ongoing counterinsurgency operations as well as other monumental achievements of the current NAF leadership, there are still some gaps in the manner the news on NAF are being reported and disseminated.
His words, “Equally worrisome is the discovery that some reporters still do not display the requisite knowledge to present information about the NAF using the appropriate terminologies.
“Hence the need for continued interface between the Directorate of Public Relations and Information and our amiable media men and women; so as to build on the already existing relationship and provide a platform for better professional performance.
“Public Relations practice has moved from merely informing the public to actively engaging them. Accordingly, the Nigerian Air Force relies on the entire spectrum of the media, including the traditional and new media, for information dissemination”, he explained.
The Workshop which is one in a series of activities lined up to enhance the already cordial relationship existing between the Press and the NAF, enlightened the Journalists on the characteristics and limitations of Air Power, Aircraft types in NAF inventory and roles as well as Armaments types used on NAF Aircraft for several operations.