Nigerian Army to foster public engagement for national security

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The Nigerian Army is committed to strengthening its relationship with the public to bolster the country’s security architecture.

Executive Director, Development Specs Academy, Prof Okey Ikechukwu, mni, made this statement during a press briefing ahead of the “Asymmetrical National Security Challenges, The Army and National Development” Round Table, scheduled in partnership with the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) on June 24th and 25th, 2024.

Prof Ikechukwu stressed that the roundtable is part of a series of public engagements designed to strengthen public awareness about security challenges.

“This Roundtable is designed as a Third-Party initiative, to distil and present Implementable Action Points (IAPs) on pressing asymmetrical national security challenges.

“These are security challenges that do not take the simple form of easily-identified, routinely compartmentalized, properly isolated and unilaterally targetable problems,” he said.

He highlighted the forms of the security challenges, describing them as clog to the wheels of national security.

“They range from embedded targets, refusal to help the army and other security agencies with local intelligence, the targeting of military personnel for hostile civilian attention, unproductive community engagements, deliberate misrepresentation of the activities and achievements of the Nigerian Army through fake news, deliberate misinformation and disinformation, among other disruptive activities.

“This Round Table shall project national interest narratives in an objective and professional manner, while promoting public understanding of the roles, and achievements, of the Nigerian Army in the ongoing efforts to protect and secure the Nigerian State,” he added.

He added that the Round Table would project National Interest Communication without Propaganda (NIC–P), adding that it would hopefully metamorphose into a platform for regular updates on the efforts of the Nigerian Army and the national security apparatus.

It will also seek to define the roles of the citizens in supporting the military as collaborative efforts would help to nip the bud of criminal elements.

“From our pre-event investigations, surveys and consultations for this Round Table, it became clear that more and more Nigerians see and treat national security problems that are threatening their very lives as purely the business of the military and, especially, the army.

“That is why this Round Table seeks to drive a new narrative, by getting Nigeria’s various publics to see and understand their roles, and the roles of other key actors, in the wider national ecosystem of synchronized security.

“We shall use the Roundtable to re-emphasize, as much as possible, the specific and general roles of the military, particularly the Nigerian army, in the cocktail of structures, activities and processes that constitute the national security architecture.

“This should address the emerging challenges and deliberate misrepresentations of our men in uniform as objectively as possible,” he stressed.

He applauded Strategic Partners for their support in organising the round table.

“They include, but are not limited to, the Nigerian Institute of Public relations (NIPR), the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Voice of Nigeria (VON), the News agency of Nigerian (NAN), the Institute for Strategic Development Communication (ISDEVCOM), Nnamdi Azikiwe Business School (IBS), and the National Drug law enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and the Institute for Peace, Security and Development Studies (IPSDS).

“The essence of drawing special attention to our Strategic Partners in this Press Briefing is to emphasize the roles and relevance of credible and highly regarded professional bodies, institutes and institutions, as well as agencies of government that are headed by professionals in public communication, professional information management and the media. We went round and consulted with all of them, in the process of preparing for the Round Table,” he said.