By Augustine Aminu
In its engagement with the civil populace aimed at projecting the Nigerian Army positively, the Army Headquarters Department of Civil-Military Affairs in collaboration with the Security Affairs Limited organised a one-day seminar to interact with social media influencers in the capital city of Ondo State, Akure.
The seminars theme: “The Evolving Role of the Social Media in Support of the Nigerian Army’s Non-Kinetic Line of Operations,” was attended by over 300 participants from Akure, the South West and other parts of the country.
Addressing the participants at the seminar, Maj.-Gen. Usman Muhammad, Director, Department of Army Civil-Military Affairs called on social media influencers to support the Nigerian Army’s campaign to eradicate crime and other security challenges in the country.
Muhammad advised social media operators to disseminate accurate information to the public because the role of the Army is not only to protect the nation but also to promote good relationship with the citizens.
According to the Army General, spreading the right information has a tendency of reducing insecurity to the barest minimum.
“If you spread the wrong information or you twist information the way you want by spreading fake news the tendency is that you are likely to spread information that may undermine the security of the country”.
He advice media practitioners to always verify all information before disseminating to the general public.
Muhammad appealed to media practitioners and Nigerians to support the activities of the Army, especially as the nation is facing series of security challenges.
He urged the social media not to report wrong information because it undermined efforts of the military and portrayed the military as not doing enough.
Also speaking, Executive Director of Security Affairs Limited, Austin Peacemaker said that it partnered the army because whatever happened online could either promote national security or derail the peace in the country.
According to Peacemaker, there are scenarios where the people would take pictures from war zones like Liberia, photoshoped and claimed it was the killing of soldiers in the north east or Christians killing Muslims in the east.
“Negative reports have affected our national security and had lead loss of lives and property across the states. So, we feel there is the need to address all these issues among the social media operators even with the main stream media”.
“Whatever we are doing online, I think we should learn to put our national security first because other countries are judging us by what they read on our social media platforms,” he said.
The seminar had in attendance Maj Gen GS Abdullahi from DHQ, Comd 32 Arty Bde Brig Gen ZL Abubakar and the Dir Psyops, AHQ DCMA Brig Gen EA Aladeniyi.
Also in attendance is the representative of the Commissioner for Information of Ondo state, Alafe Abbey as well as the Special Adviser to the Governor of Ondo state on new media, Olabode Richard.
Other participants at the seminar include; the HRDO, a representative from the NACWC as well as members of NGOs, CSOs and various student bodies.
The participants appreciated the Nigerian Army for this initiative and encouraged it not to relent in its efforts to liberate the country from the activities of insurgents and other criminal elements despite the comments of skeptics.