Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai yesterday said allegations of lack of equipment and non-payment of allowances to troops in the war fronts were ill-conceived and misleading.
He said the allegations were part of the campaigns of calumny against the army to dampen the morale of troops.
The Army chief urged the nation’s media to see through the psychological warfare of the insurgents and their international and local collaborators.
Lt.-Gen Buratai spoke yesterday at the opening ceremony of Nigerian Army Conference for Editors at Nigerian Army Resource Centre, Abuja.
He said the theme of the conference, “Enhancing military media relationship for effective fight against terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria”, was chosen to address the country’s security challenges.
“The allegations of human rights abuses against the military by Amnesty International, allegations of lack of equipment and non-payment of allowances to troops are ill-conceived and misleading.
“The war against terrorism should be a collective responsibility for all, and not just a war between the army and the terrorist groups. The war needs to be reported as it is, and therefore, the media need to enlighten the people to understand the true situation and support the military. The impact of the terrorists’ propaganda was one of the major challenges facing the military by discouraging and dampening morale of the troops in the frontline,” the Army chief said.
He said the army would remain apolitical as the nation prepares for the general elections, noting that Exercise Python Dance III was launched across the country recently to ensure the maintenance of peace and security.
Buratai appealed to the nation’s editors to support the military in the war against Boko Haram terrorists, asserting that the war should not been seen as that of the military alone.
He said: “I am highly delighted to speak to you, the leading media practitioners in Nigeria, who make major contributions that shape public perception on daily basis through national dailies, electronic media as well as online media.
“There is no doubt that by your distinct position, you can stabilise or destabilise situations in any given security environment. The reasons are not far from the fact that the pen is mightier than the sword. This media conference organised by the Nigerian Army came at the right time when we are faced with challenges of reporting military operations vis-a-vis the concern to preserve our national security.
“The effort of the military to ensure peace and security in our country is a constitutional responsibility, which requires support from all sectors to make Nigeria safe from all forms of criminalities.
“Therefore, your roles as leading media practitioners in this fight is key in shaping public opinion by reporting what is right as at when due to avoid putting the lives of security agents in danger.”
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