Army to re-strategise on Boko Haram

Chiamaka Okechukwu, Lagos

The Nigerian Army Army had so far recorded successes in the fight against insurgency.

The Nigerian Army is re-strategising to track and eliminate the remaining Boko Haram elements from the north east.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai made this statement at the ongoing three-day media workshop in Lagos.

He reiterated that the Army had so far recorded successes in the fight against insurgency, while expressing optimism that the elements will  soon be eliminated completely.

 “We are degrading their activities. Most of the areas that were initially occupied by the insurgents have been captured and a lot of them have dispersed.” But again, there are elements of this Boko Haram that are scattered all over the North-east and if you know
“But again, there are their characteristics, you will know they operate in small cells,”
he stated.

Burutai further stated that, “So they come out and carry out small attacks and disappear. So, we are making efforts to re-strategise, track and finally eliminate them from the battlefield.”

Military-media relations
The Army Chief expressed delight that the military and the media had excellent working relationship; pointing out that the military at all times will continue to collaborate and exchange information with the media, as required.

“We have been very open with the media. We do not make any negative statement about the Nigerian media and the media are doing very well to the best of my knowledge,” he said.

Buratai delivered a lecture titled, “The Utilisation of New Generation Warfare Tactics: Gains and Successes in the North-East Operations’’.

He identified information, psychological and cyber operation as some of the new generation warfare tactics.

According to him, the way forward is for every Nigerian to cooperate with the military in providing timely information on suspicious activities of individuals or groups in their community.

Similarly, the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adeshina urged the military to ensure constant training and retraining of defence journalists for better reportage.

Adeshina, whose lecture was entitled, ‘The Challenges and Expectations of the Media in Military Operations’, called on the military to periodically brief the media through Command Chiefs and grant timely interviews to avoid speculations.

“The Nigerian Military and the Media must work proactively for national interest. The military will always be of interest to the media because media must interpret the military to the public,” he stressed.

While speaking with journalists, Adeshina also reiterated government’s commitment in tackling the insurgency by going after the sponsors of Boko Haram.

According to him, “This government is tackling the issue of insurgency and if it knows the sponsors and it is double sure they are the sponsors, they will be treated like Boko Haram.”

On the released of the Chibok girls, Adeshina said the girls were being rehabilitated physically and psychologically.

The workshop
The three-day workshop with the theme “New Generation Warfare: The Dynamics of Information Management,” will provide an opportunity for the media and military to interact and synergise to bridge communication gap with the aim of fulfilling their obligations to the public.

Commanding Officers, Directorate of Army Public Relation Officers, journalists and personalities from other sectors are participating in the workshop.

The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, in his welcome address, said learning and exchanging ideas at the workshop would aid the military to understand the media better.

“We have some commanding officers of units located in the North-East and other parts of the country as participants. Their participation in the study period is crucial to the overall success of the Nigerian Army’s Counter Insurgency and Peace Keeping Operation, as well as other Internal Security Operations.”

“It is our intention to use this forum to implore for more positive coverage of the army’s activities with due observance of the principles of accuracy and security by the media,” Colonel Usman added.

The three-day workshop is organised by the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information at 81 Division Officers’ Mess in Lagos.