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Army Focused on Stronger Relationship With Media – COAS

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has reiterated the Nigerian Army (NA) commitment towards building a stronger relationship between the NA and the media. The COAS made this statement on 20 June 2024 during the Second Quarter Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) Media Chat held at Amana Hall, Grand Central Hotel, Kano, with the theme “*Synergizing Civil-Military Cooperation for National Security: Focus on Nigerian Army-Media Relations”*.

In his keynote address, the COAS stated that NA recognizes the critical role the media plays in shaping public opinion and informing the people, stressing that the NA is fully committed to the protection of law-abiding citizens and their civil liberties, therefore understands that a robust partnership with the media is paramount in achieving the NA-Media Relations.

The COAS who was represented by the General Officer Commanding 1 Division NA and Commander Operation WHIRL PUNCH, Major General David Saraso said that the media serves as the bridge that connects the NA to the citizens, ensuring accountability and maintaining a healthy relationship based on mutual trust and understanding. He added that over the years, the NA has made significant progress in enhancing its communication and engagement with the media.

“We have worked hard to remove most of the encumbrances to peace in the country and enhance civil-military relations. Nevertheless, we recognize that there is still work to be done and challenges to address. To achieve effective collaboration, it is imperative for us to foster an environment that encourages open dialogue and mutual respect. We must establish regular channels of communication, enabling transparent and accurate reporting of military operations activities, timely dissemination of information for engendering public confidence and countering misinformation,” he said.

Lieutenant General Lagbaja acknowledged the importance of freedom of the press, urging the media to exercise responsibility, accuracy, and fairness in reporting NA’s matters, noting that it is crucial to strike a balance between national security interests and the public’s right to information. It is imperative for the media to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, accuracy, impartiality, and patriotism. Hence, we must avoid disseminating fake news or inflammatory contents that could undermine national unity and security.

The COAS further reiterated NA’s commitment to improving media access to NA’s operations within the bounds of operational security, maintaining the need for accurate reporting on NA’s activities, as it aids in building trust between the NA and civil population. This underscores the significance of a consistent and transparent communication strategy implemented by the NA, adding that collaboration between the NA and the media should not be limited to the reporting of conflicts, terrorism, or security threats alone but must extend our engagements to areas of national development, peacebuilding, and community engagement.

While urging the public to continue to support the NA kinetic and non-kinetic operations towards complete elimination of elements and purveyors of insecurity and restoring socio-economic activities to most hitherto deserted communities in our beloved country, COAS reassured the nation of the unalloyed loyalty of the officers and men of the NA to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Constitution of Nigeria.

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