From ODIMMEGWA JOHNPETER, Abuja
THE Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin, has advocated for a mutually beneficial military–media relationship.
Olonishakin stated this during his keynote address at the Defence Correspondent’s Seminar held at Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
His words: “Over the years, we have traditionally nurtured and promoted a healthy, happy, virile and mutually beneficial military–media relationship, which I will continue to uphold.
“This seminar is an indication of our commitment and policy focus towards building more robust military–media partnership, particularly with those of you that are devoted to defence and security matters. I have no doubt in my mind that by building bridges of understanding and collapsing the walls of mutual suspicion between the media and the military, our jobs will be a lot easier”.
Harping on the theme of this year’s seminar titled “Constructive Reportage as an Important Ingredient for National Security and Integration,” General Olonishakin noted that it revealed a deep understanding of the indispensable role of the media in crisis management, conflict resolution, peace and nation building.
According to Olonishakin, it is therefore incumbent on all stakeholders in the National Security and allied sectors to assist defence media practitioners to build human and institutional capacity to facilitate their effective performance and goal attainment.
The chief of defence staff also noted, “As professionals, you are expected to have a clear understanding of the challenges confronting our country, which range from pastoralist / farmer’s clashes, cattle rustling, kidnapping, militancy, vandalism of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) particularly oil facilities, ethnic nationalism, terrorism and insurgency.
“These challenges singly and collectively have the grim potentials to undermine the Nigerian state. To prevent this, the Armed Forces of Nigeria has been called upon to provide Military Assistance to Civil Authority (MACA) and Military Assistance to Civil Power (MACP) in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)”.
The seminar was attended by resource persons, the presenter and former director of information, naval headquarters, Commodore Olutunde Alade Oladimeji (rtd), directors of defence and services headquarters, Public Relations Officers from police, Customs and Civil Defence Headquarters as well as Defence Correspondents.