The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has said media reports on military operations give an upper hand to terrorists.
He spoke on Thursday in Abuja during a conference organized by the Nigerian Army for media practitioners themed: “Enhancing Military – Media Relationship for Effective Fight against Terrorism and Insurgency in Nigeria.”
He said, “It is important to note that the leakage of vital information on military operation like the on-going fight against the Boko Haram terrorists is inimical to national security.”
“This will give our position to the terrorists and give them upper hand in their psychological war against the troops,” he added.
“It is pertinent to note that not all information regarding military operations will be made available to you, due to some obvious reasons.
“This is because we are also ‘gatekeepers’ in keeping secret of vital military operations for national security.
“However, when such operations are conducted, relevant details will be made available to the media for public consumption,” he said.
He also said, “I want to request the media to bear with us and exercise patience while we remain committed to carrying you along in the discharge of our various military operations in line with the military constitutional roles and international best practices.”
He said terrorists thrive on publicity to misinform the public, instil fear in the minds of the people and dampen troops’ morale.
Buratai said he was worried over the campaign of calumny against the military through social media platforms by some organizations to the detriment of national security.
He also said the allegations of human rights abuses against the military by Amnesty International, allegations of lack of equipment and non-payment of allowances to troops is ill-conceived and misleading.
He noted that the war against terrorism should be a collective responsibility and not just a war between the army and the terrorist groups.
He said, “The war needs to be reported as it is, and therefore, the media need to enlighten the people to understand the true situation and support the military.”
“When this is observed it will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges faced in reporting issues affecting national security,” he stated.