By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-CHIEF of Army Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has tasked journalists to exercise restraint while reporting issues that have serious security implications.
He particularly asked reporters to ensure they balance their reports by getting the side of the military through appropriate military quarters, reminding them that the Directorate of Defence Information would remain the clearing house for all media related issues of the military.
Olonisakin, who spoke, yesterday, through Rear Admiral Jonathan Ango, at a one-day 2017 Defence Correspondents’ Seminar, held at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, asked journalists especially Defence Correspondents to always liaise with the Director of Defence Information, DDI, to obtain official statements and also clear doubts.
While acknowledging the roles media has been playing in the restoration of peace in the country, especially North East, Olonisakin noted that due to the continuous drive of the military to maintain an open door policy,media organisations “have always been granted permission and provided armed escorts to our theatres of operation.”
“Likewise, some Non Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations were facilitated to perform their duties at different locations of the mission areas nationwide, “he added.
The Chief of Defence Staff said the Defence Headquarters would continue to leverage on the existing cordial relationship between the media and the military,”having in mind the critical role media plays on military operations.”
“It is in acknowledgement of this enormous and vital role, that this forum is being given all necessary support, so as to further explore more areas for collaboration and partnership.
“Indeed, our determination and resolve to restore peace and security in the country have never been in doubt. The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are working assiduously to ensure that terrorism and criminalities among others are checkmated, “he further said.
He commended the organisers of the seminar for choosing a theme:” Professional Information Management, a Panacea for Improved National Security”, saying he was particularly happy that the topic elicited intellectual discourse on issues surrounding information management and national security.
Noting that the theme was aimed at creating greater awareness among media practitioners on the subject, Olonisakin said there was “no better time than now for such a topical issue to be discussed by the media stakeholders.”
Earlier, in his welcome address, Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, said it was necessary for the Defence Headquarters and his office in particular, to always ensure that Defence Correspondents were adequately prepared to function creditably.