Retired Lt.-Gen. Alani Akinrinade, former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has urged the media to minimise false reportage of happenings in the war against insurgency in the country.
Akinrinade gave the advice on Sunday at the 81 Division West African Social Activities (WASA), at 65 battalion parade ground, Lagos late Saturday night.
“I can suggest that we try to minimise the impact of false reporting of happenings in this war against Boko Haram.
“The exaggerated and sometimes entirely fabricated falsehood on the social media and the possible repercussion on morale of our troops are incalculable, he said.
He said the media perhaps, could be persuaded to go to the frontlines, to have first hand information.
“Perhaps, the media can be persuaded to have some of their experienced field operators to be attached to some of the forward headquarters.”
The former army chief said this was necessary to enable such capable hands in the media “to bring us authentic information as to happenings in the frontlines, to reduce the mischief that is pervasive on the social media.”
He commended the entire armed forces for their exploits in the past few troubled times, particularly in West Africa, where the flag was hoisted with pride and valor.
“I salute you all for the efforts you have exerted.
” I believe I speak for all our citizens when I say we recognize and lament the irreparable losses in both military and civilian lives and property. That has been the hallmark of our lives in the past few years.
“Our hearts go out, especially during this festive season, to our men and women on Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
“I know the feeling, having spent three consecutive Yuletide in the swamps, mangrove and creeks of our country and the disparities then were not as stark as today.”
Earlier, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Musa Yusuf, in his opening remarks, said that WASA was aimed at celebrating the end of a successful operational year.
He said:It is in keeping with this age-long tradition that we are here gathered, today, to witness yet another WASA.
“There is no doubt that 2018 was characterised by numerous security challenges, such as insurgency, farmers/herders clash, kidnappings, armed robbery, pipeline vandalism and other criminality.
“To overcome these challenges, the division requires a high degree of professionalism by personnel which is achieved through realistic training.
“In this direction, 81 Division has conducted and implemented all training activities consistent with the vision of Chief of Army Staff COAS and in line with the Nigerian Army Training Directives.”
He said the division would redouble efforts toward ensuring that troops were adequately given mission and specific training.
The GOC said this was necessary, especially in anticipation of likely tasks the Division would be expected to carry out in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“I, therefore, urge all personnel to remain, focused, professional and apolitical in carrying out their constitutional duties during the elections,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that the high-points of the event were the display of cultural dance, tug-of-war and the lighting of camp fire among others. (NAN)