As the 81 Division, Nigerian Army rounded off its 2018 activities with a colourful display of cultural dances, the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, admonished the media to minimise false reportage on the prosecution of war against insurgency noting that the negative effect is grevious.
Making his remarks as the Special Guest of Honour during the 81 Division West African Social Activities (WASA), held at 65 Battallion parade ground at the weekend, called on all and sundry to join hands with the military through prayers to defeat the enemies against the country.
According to him, he berated the social media were such falsehood are either fabricated or exaggerated, a practice that dampens the morale of troops in the front.
“I can suggest that we try to minimise the impact of false reporting of happenings in this war against Boko Haram.
“The exaggerated and sometimes entirely fabricated falsehood on the social media and the possible repercussion on morale of our troops must be incalculable.
He, therefore, advise the Ministry of Defence to explore the possibility of embedding representatives of our media if they are agreeable for authentic reportage of happenings.
Lt. General Alani Akinrinade, who was Chief of Army Staff (COAS), from October 1979 to April 1980, and later the Chief of Defence Staff until 1981 during the Nigerian Second Republic, added that the media perhaps, could be persuaded to go to the frontlines, aimed at having first hand information.
“Perhaps, the media can be persuaded to have some of their experienced field operators to be attached to some of the forward headquarters to bring us authentic information as to happenings in the front lines to reduce the mischief that is pervasive on the social media,” he said.
Paying tribute to the entire Armed Forces for the efforts you have exerted, noted that “I believe I speak for all our citizens, when I say we recognize and lament the irreparable losses in both military and civilian lives and properties that has been the hallmark of our lives in the past few years.
“Our hearts go out especially during this festive season, to our men and women on Operation LAFIYA DOLE. I know the feeling, having spent three consecutive Yuletides in the swamps, mangrove and creeks of our country and the disparities then were not as stark as today,” he emphasized.
The host and the General Officer Commanding, (GOC) 81 Division, Maj Gen. Musa Yusuf, in his opening remarks, said that WASA was aimed at celebrating the end of a successful operational year.
He observed that in keeping with this age long tradition that we are here gathered today to witness yet another WASA
“There is no doubt that the year 2018 was characterised by numerous security challenges such as insurgency, farmers/herders clash, kidnappings, armed robbery, pipeline vandalism and other criminalities.
“To overcome these challenges, the division require a high degree of professionalism by personnel which is achieved through realistic training.
“In this direction, 81 Division has conducted and implemented all training activities consistent with the vision of the COAS and in line with the Nigerian Army Training Directives,” he said
He said the division would redouble its efforts towards ensuring that troops were adequately given mission specific trainings especially in anticipation of likely tasks it would be expected to carry out in the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.
“I therefore urge all personnel to remain, focused, professional and apolitical in carrying out your constitutional duties during the election,” he said.
During the WASA which featured cultural dances from all the barracks under its area of responsibilities, also witnessed a lavish display of traditional foods from Nigerian tribes within the barracks community.
Other attractions that added colour to the event were tug-of-war among some units and Magajians and the lighting of camp fire by Lt Gen Alani Ipoola Akinrinade to round off the events.
The Governor of Ogun state; Flag Officer Commanding, (FOC) Naval Training Command, Apapa; Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Logistics Command, Ikeja and the AIG, Zone 2 Command, Onikan; were all represented at the occasion by senior officers.