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Fake News Hampers Army Operations & Demoralize Troops-Usman

Remarks by GOC 81 Div Nigerian Army, Maj Gen MS Yusuf, at NASPRI Media Workshop in Lagos

It gives me great delight and sense of pleasure to be here today on the occasion of Media Workshop organized by the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI) for Commanding Officers, Army Public Relations Officers, Defense Correspondents and other media Practitioners.

Let me add that the theme for the workshop as aptly captured: “ Fake News as Threat to National Security: The Way Forward” is timely. The workshop is coming at a time we are grappling with a number of security challenges. I make bold to state that we have gained mileage against this ugly trends in our collective resolve to bring the situation under control.

May I also quickly add that some unpatriotic activities of our country men and women have downplayed the level of success we have recorded in our operations is worrisome. More disturbing is their resolve to churn out fake news in a desperate attempt to supplant our narrative.

This situation has played out particularly in the new media environment, must be stopped if our narrative in and out of theater is to be sustained. Let me also add that, fake news has eaten deep into all spheres of our national lives as such we must collectively put a stop to it.

This workshop I believe will galvanize a robust discourse and create the necessary synergy amongst stakeholder in charting the way forward on our conscious efforts to stamp out fake news in our society.

To our most critical stakeholders in the fight against fake news, our media men, I urge you to see this as a clarion call to our social responsibility to halt this ugly trend.

I also want to urge you to discredit fake news in our society and engender positive narratives that will lead to national cohesion and unity. To all the participants I urge you to be realistic in the disclosure in the days ahead.

At this point, may I commend the Ag Commandant and other organizer of this workshop for brainstorming and conceiving the idea at a time like this. It is indeed a welcome development.

It is on this note Ladies and Gentlemen that I on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai hereby declare the workshop open. I wish you happy deliberation. Ladies and Gentlemen fake new is no news at all!

Remarks by Brigadier General SK Usman at combined DAPR/NASPRI media workshop in Lagos

It is a great honour and privilege for me to on behalf of the Officers and Soldiers of the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR) and Nigerian Army School of Public Relations (NASPRI) to welcome the Special Guest of Honour, Major General MS Yusuf, General Officer Commanding 81 Division Nigerian Army, distinguished invited guests and participants to the combined DAPR/NASPRI media workshop and study period for the year 2018.

This combined workshop and study period is coming at a time when Nigeria is facing myriads of security challenges and at a point when public’s understanding and support is very desirable.

As public relations practitioners in the Nigerian Army, you have a great role in making the public understand and support the Army as it confronts these security challenges.

Our assignment is critical to the public perception and image of the Nigerian Army.

We will therefore be required to develop, implement and monitor operational and tactical communication strategies and provide timely advice to all levels of command within the Nigerian Army.

For you to meet up with these duties, you must keep abreast with contemporary development in the field of public relations, this could be attained through training such as this.

You will recall that during the DAPR Third and Fourth Quarter Conference 2017, the need to effectively use the social media by the Directorate was re-emphasized.

Therefore, the Directorate has evolved the use of the social media to tell the Nigerian Army’s story and also listen through interaction and gauging feedbacks from the public.

It is heartwarming to note that the response from the public have been quite encouraging.

However, a new development associated with this phenomenon is the issue of inaccurate reporting of events that often graduate to sheer fabrication or fake news.

It is on this premise that this media workshop and study period tends to focus on fake news.

Consequently, the theme of the combined media workshop/study period is “Fake News a Threat to National Security: The Way Forward” was carefully chosen to drive home the urgent need to address it.

This study period is to also serve as a platform to build capacity in our personnel through intellectual interactions with carefully selected resource persons for these two days.

From your interactions, you stand to benefit from the wealth of professional experience of the resource persons and guest lecturers on the various topics that aptly address the theme.

This training will also provide a good opportunity for the participants to expand their knowledge and exchange ideas that would enhance overall performance in the discharge of assigned tasks.

I hope at the end of it we would come out with great strategies that would mitigate the menace of fake news. This will enhance awareness among NA personnel on the effective ways to respond to wrong messages.

Fake news is a misconception and misrepresentation of issues as it affect our operations and other military activities when not properly addressed, it hampers our operational activities and demoralize our troops.

Therefore there is need to engage the public by telling our story rightly. The DAPR is also mindful of the risks associated with fake news hence the need to set aside this training period to help our personnel understand how to liaise with the media and present the true situation of event as they occur.

I urge all participants to make good use of the training opportunity afforded them by this study period to bring out their best in all interactive discussions.

The DAPR will be willing to implement well thought out ideas that emanate from our fruitful deliberations especially if they will enhance the achievement of the COAS vision which is “To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles”.

It is hoped that the fruitful deliberations from the Study Period will thoroughly reinvigorate the professional competence of NA public relations practitioners in handling contemporary challenges.

Let me seize this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the COAS, Lt Gen TY Buratai for his support and strategic direction without which this event would not have been possible. And to all our resource persons and dignitaries words are inadequate to express our sincere appreciation. Thank you for your presence and we are highly honoured and exceedingly humbled by your esteemed presence.

On this note, I welcome all participants to the year 2018 combine DAPR Study Period and NASPRI Media Workshop. Thank you and God bless.

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