Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Nigerian Army seeks collaboration with bloggers, Social Media Influencers in Fight against Insurgen

By Ukpa Ewa | March 13, 2022

The Nigerian has sought the support and collaboration of online and social media users to assist in the fight against insurgency, stating that the cyberspace is the latest domain of modern warfare.

Speaking during the 18th Social Media Influencers Seminar held in conjunction with Security Affairs Limited in Awka, the Chief of Army Staff, General Faruk Yahaya said there was so much the social media could do in supporting Nigerian Army operations across the country.

Gen. Yahaya who was represented by Chief of Civil - Military Affairs Major Gen. Marcus Kangye described the cyberspace as a veritable tool in influencing and shaping public opinion which is critical in deciding the outcome of battles.

According to him, it was vital for social media users, bloggers, online journalist to know and enlighten the populace on the danger of misinformation for general security of the country. 

He also lamented the misunderstanding of the recent surrendering of Boko Haram insurgency and its image perception of Nigerian Military has been understood negatively by online community and by extension Nigerians, he said.

He maintained that the Nigerian Army was making giant strides in the fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality.

"Currently thousands of Boko Haram terrorist and their families has surrendered to army troops and have been profiled. Unfortunately, such efforts were underreported thereby undermining the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of the selfless soldiers in tackling insecurity".

" Most media houses prefer to propagate sensitive information that scares and attract negative attention rather than headlines geared towards celebrating the gallantry efforts of the troops".

Gen Kangye further noted that the department of civil - military affairs since its inception in 2010 has been bridging perceived communication gaps between the army and the civil populace and winning the heart and mind of the people.

"As a respected organisation, the Nigerian Army believes in impacting positively in lives of the average citizens as part of its corporate social responsibility and constitutional mandate".

"In areas of providing outreach through quick impact projects, the Nigerian Army in the last five years has carried out over 100 civil-military related projects in various communities ensuring that the force was seen in positive light as a responsible organisation".

Earlier in his remarks, the Acting Director of information Army Headquarters Department of Civil Military Affairs, Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, said poor perception of the activities and achievements of the Nigerian Army formed the basis to interact with online media bloggers, civil society, religious organizations among others.

Speaking on the theme "The Nigerian Army's Non-Kinetic Line of Operation: Critical Role of the Social Media" Col. Ogunsanya acknowledged that the topic was chosen in realization of the positive role the social media has played to support the Army to counter insurgency and anti-banditry operations in the nation.

In his Paper Presentation "Effects of Social Media on Military Operations: Asymmetric Warefare in Perspective" Brigadier Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman (Rtd) said social media was becoming an indispensable extension of human life which was changing communication pattern globally.

He said the lofty opportunities of social media, its accessibility, broad reach and affordability makes it an easy tool for terrorist and criminals in the society to access, stating that this contributes significantly to security challenges in most nations as it was easier to spread fake news, rumors and misinformation through social media.

"To effectively use social media for enhanced asymmetric warfare especially against Boko Haram, and ISWAP, terrorist groups in Nigeria there was need for security personnel to have advanced technology, more equipment control of spectrum and counter - narratives using social media". 

Gen Sani Usman however commended the Nigerian Army for its prevalence and use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, telegram and WhatsApp to communicate and disseminate information.