The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has reiterated the Army’s commitment to protecting Nigeria’s territorial integrity and maintains internal security.
Tukur Buratai stated this on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the directorate of Army Public Relations Civil-Media-Military Relations Summit for the south east zone held at the headquarters 82 division of the Nigerian army in Enugu.
Lietenant General Buratai who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Army Headquarters, Army Headquarters, Major-General Enobong Udoh said Civil-Media-Military Relations Summit is in line with Nigerian Army’s resolve to create awareness about its operations routinely conducted in the country.
He expressed the hope that the media will continue to properly inform and educate the public on issues of National security interest without bias, and sensationalism especially on the Exercises, ATILOGWU UDO 1, AYEM AKPATUMA II and CROCODILE SMILE IV which are currently going on simultaneously in all the states of North Central, North West, South-South and South-West Geopolitical zones.
“This summit is being held today in line with my desire to keep the public well informed about the activities of the Nigerian Army (NA) and above all, to fashion out better means of galvanizing media and indeed public awareness, support and appreciation of NA’s activities, exercises and operations that are being routinely conducted in our dear country especially in the South East Zone”.
“The Summit is also intended to serve as a means of improving civil-military-relations and further enriching the knowledge and understanding of Army Public Relations officers, members of the press and all other participants particularly as it relates to the theme of the Summit, which is “Galvanizing Citizens’ Support for Military Operations in Nigeria through the Media”.
It is my hope that the media will continue to properly inform and educate the public on issues of National security interest without biases, devoid of parochial interests, subjectivity and sensationalism and in particular as it relates to our routine Exercises, namely; Exercise ATILOGWU UDO 1, Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA II and Exercise CROCODILEE SMILE IV which are currently going on simultaneously in all the states of North Central, North West, South-South and South West Geopolitical zones”.
“Although these Exercises are primarily meant to sharpen the capacities of our officers and soldiers in order to boost their operational efficiency, the period for their conduct is carefully chosen to coincide with the yuletide season when there is usually an upsurge in acts of criminality such kidnapping, hostage taking for ransom, armed robbery, sea piracy/robbery”.“The perpetrators of these acts of criminality during the Exercise period therefore offer themselves as fleeting opportunities for the Exercise troops to deal with the perpetrators in real time. Meanwhile, the Exercises equally offer the opportunity for the NA to get closer to the people through the conduct of several outreaches in order to win the hearts and minds of our host communities in order to relate better with them
On his part, the General –Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Brigadier-General Lasisi Adegboye said the summit provides a platform for stakeholders to share ideas and innovative ways towards combating the contemporary security challenges currently facing the country as well as galvanize media and public support and co-operation towards the forthcoming Nigerian Army Exercise ATILOGWU UDO 1 commencing on 1 Nov 19 throughout the South Eastern States of the Federation.
“As you are all aware, this summit was organized by the Chief of Army Staff in line with his vision which is “to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional role”. The summit intends to provide a platform for stakeholders to share ideas and innovative ways towards combating the contemporary security challenges we face.”.
“Furthermore, it seeks to galvanize media and public support as well as co-operation towards the forthcoming Nigerian Army Exercise ATILOGWU UDO 1 commencing on 1 Nov 19 throughout the South Eastern States of the Federation. The summit is also geared towards providing an enabling environment for amiable inter-agency co–operation and collaboration. This will subsequently provide sister security agencies with the opportunity to productively interact with each other thereby creating the catalyst necessary to forge a synergy in tackling the myriads of security-related problems in the region.
“It is pertinent to draw your attention to my discussion with the traditional rulers when I had a meeting with them last week. I drew their attention to the prevailing security challenges in this region which includes kidnappings, abductions, communal clashes, armed robbery and other forms of criminality. It is therefore noteworthy to state that EXERCISE ATILOGWU UDO 1 seeks to contain these security challenges and emplace adequate security measures to curb the activities of the criminal elements during the yuletide”.
“This is to guarantee public safety, continuity in socio-economic activities and foster harmonious and peaceful co-existence amongst the peace loving people of the South Eastern States. To this end, the NA has trained and will practice its personnel at all levels on ways to combat the aforementioned security challenges be-devilling the South East area in conjunction and close co-operation with sister security agencies”.
“In line with global best practices, the NA is establishing Main Operating Bases (MOBs) which have been rightly designated as Nigerian Army Super Camps (NASCs)”.
“The SC concept provides for the concentration of more potent and formidable application of force against adversaries, insurgents, terrorist and criminals, whose activities have become veritable threats to national security. The aim is for these forces to be projected into hideouts, enclaves, crossing points and routes of these undesirable elements”.
“It is therefore apt, at this juncture to mention that this year’s Nigerian Army exercise tagged EX ATILOGWU UDO 1 is premised on the concept of the NASC to ensure the troops dominate all the nooks and crannies of the south eastern states.
“Exercise ATILOGWU UDO 1 which means “Peaceful Dance” is primarily focused towards Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities.
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi who was represented at the occasion by secretary to the state government, Professor Simon Ortuanya in his goodwill message commended the Nigerian army for promoting excellence in its operations and expressed the hope that the programme will achieve its set objectives.
Governor Ugwuanyi assured that his administration will remain committed to will continue to place premium on the security of lives and property of residents of the state.
In a presentation entitled “The Military, Media, Peace and National Development” the guest lecturer, Dr. Ifeanyi Didiugwu said the media have a major role to play is shaping public perception about the Nigerian army and charged the army to strengthen its relationship with the media.
The summit with the theme “Galvanizing Citizens’ Support For Military Operations in Nigeria Through the Media” drew media professionals from the five south east states and Cross Rivers, traditional rulers including the Chairman of Enugu state council of traditional rulers, Igwe Lawrence Agubuzo, traditional ruler of Nike, Julius Nnaji veteran actors, Pete Edochie and Chika Okpala.