'Military Is Way Ahead of Criminals, We Sustained Non-Military and Soft Strategies to End Multifaceted Threats' - CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa has affirmed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria are way ahead of terrorists and criminals, noting that the non-kinetic efforts of the military have produced appreciable outcomes complementing the kinetic actions. 

According to the CDS, the armed forces of Nigeria, being the key driver encountering the myriad of security threats nationwide has sustained non-military and soft strategies as a means to an end of these multifaceted threats.

General Musa said this at a one-day seminar organised by the Defence Correspondents’ Association of Nigerian, (DECAN) on Tuesday in Abuja with the theme; “Civil Military Relations: Non-kinetic efforts of the Nigerian Military in Security Management, Challenges and Prospects”.

The CDS noted that the enforcement of Nigerians non-kinetic efforts gets towards winning the hearts and minds of citizens and encouraging other sectors of the society to take ownership of the situation to contribute meaningfully to defeating the multifaceted threats.

He stressed that some of the non-kinetic activities conducted by the enforcement of Nigeria Operation Safe Corridor were designed to deradicalize, rehabilitate and reintegrate surrendered, willing and repentant members of the terrorist groups.

"Others are civil-military cooperation and engagement with key leaders of various communities and stakeholders, especially those that are directly affected by security as well as the veterans.

"Though not without challenges, I wish to assert here that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other various security agencies have continued to work tirelessly to improve Nigeria's security.

"Going further, I want to state that tackling threats in Nigeria is a continuous process whereby the development of resilience at societal, national and regional levels plays a key role.

"This involves the cooperation and integration of the military, private sector, local authorities, civil society organization, non governmental organizations, the academia, international organizations, amongst other with the sole aim of accomplishing strategic goals." he added

The CDS also opined that the whole of society approach to address several critical areas including civil capacity, interagency education, training and exercises, effective planning, coordination and collaborations.

"Others will include cross organizational understanding of capabilities and interagency framework that establishes proper roles and responsibilities, unified assessment leading to a shared understanding of the operational environment, adequate statutory authorities and funding mechanism as well as sufficient information sharing. 

"Several of these elements mentioned are currently in place as the Armed Forces of Nigeria have been making deliberate efforts to ensure security across the country.

"Nigeria as a diverse and complex nation faces a mirage of security threats that demand our varying attention and concerted efforts to address.

"From separatism, insurgencies and terrorism to inter-communal conflicts, transnational organized crimes and the mirror of other security challenges, the task of securing our nation is formidable and tasking.

"In tackling these threats, we are not unmindful of the shift from seeking victory through kinetic means. Our main focus remains the targeting of the will of the people through the application as a combination of soft and non-military planning and execution of its operationality means. " the CDS said

On his part, the Director General of, Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC), Maj.-Gen. Garba Wahab challenged media practitioners to be patriotic in the performance of their duties and avoid reports that would be detrimental to national interest and security.

Maj.-Gen. Wahab advised that it is important for the military to embed journalists in its operations planning and execution to help greatly in checking negative reports on the activities of security agencies.

"So it is not only the media, the government and the armed forces have a role to play in ensuring that when you are embedding an organization, their interests are also taken into consideration. "he said

The National Coordinator of, National Counter-Terrorism Centre, retired Rear Adm. Yaminu Musa, represented by Commodore BM Sule, said despite the military non-kinetic approach, malicious use of artificial intelligence by hostile state and non-state actors to foment fake news, lack of collaboration among security agencies, and scarce resources have continued to pose significant obstacles to effective security management.

"In recent years, we have witnessed the expanding role of the military in addressing non-conventional security threats such as terrorism, insurgency and communal conflicts. Previously, attention was only given to the kinetic means of managing security.

"However, the Nigerian military currently utilizes non-kinetic approach which involves strategies that don't involve direct use of military force. These approaches could include community engagement through civil military cooperation, information operations and conflict resolution methods aimed at resolving security issues without physical combat.

"The Nigerian military has been actively involved in various non kinetic initiatives aimed at promoting stability, peace and development as the non kinetic approach has become increasingly relevant in managing today's complex security landscape.

"In today's modern society, the relationship between the military and the civilian population is a crucial aspect of national security and governance.

"Civil military cooperation is essential for ensuring the defence of a nation and building public trust in the military which is vital for maintaining national stability and unity.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Baba, in his goodwill message said the media serves as a bridge between the military and the public plays a significant role in projecting the military in positive light by providing accurate and timely information to the public.

Also the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig -Gen. Tukur Gusau, urged the media to be circumspect in their reportage of security issues without jeopardising ongoing operations. 

One of the resource persons at the seminar,  Group Captain Sadeeq Garba Shehu (Rtd) presented a paler titled "NIGERIAN MEDIA AND SECURITY OPERATIONS : What not to Report, What to report and How to report it." 

Shehu emphasised on the qualities of a defence correspondents which are SKILL AND CREATIVITY. He said, Defence correspondents need to have the skill and creativity to produce compelling and accurate stories, using various formats and platforms. They need to have the technical proficiency to operate cameras, recorders, and editing software, as well as the journalistic expertise to write, edit, and verify their reports. They also need to have the artistic flair to craft narratives, use imagery, and engage audiences. Skill and creativity are crucial for war correspondents to communicate their messages effectively and to stand out from the crowd. 

"COMPASSION AND EMPATHY. War correspondents need to have compassion and empathy for the people they report on, especially the victims and the vulnerable. They need to respect their dignity, privacy, and consent, and to avoid sensationalism, stereotyping, and exploitation. 

" PASSION AND COMMITMENT. War correspondents need to have passion and commitment for their work, as it is often challenging, demanding, and exhausting. They need to have a clear sense of purpose and a strong motivation to pursue their stories, despite the obstacles and the sacrifices. 

They also need to have a dedication to their profession and their values, and to uphold the standards and ethics of journalism. Passion and commitment are what drive war correspondents to overcome difficulties and to make a difference.

The second guest Speaker, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) Alhaji Jibril Ndace who delivered a paper "Military Media Relation in the Age of Durable Disorder". He said he intends to bring those global, regional and then national challenges in this relationship and how the military and the media try to manage those relationships. 

"I tried to even put in context where why there are also those challenges the military by their professional they have their own professional ethic, the media by his own profession also have. 

The seminar provides an invaluable platform for the media and the military to engage in meaningful discourse on the most pressing issues facing the nation, particularly in the realm of security.

Highlighting the seminar, the President of the Defence Correspondents’ Association, Comrade Ismail Musa, said the seminar was organised to enlightened Defence Correspondents in supporting the military’s efforts to address insurgency activities in Nigeria. 

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