120, 000 Boko Haram fighters, family members surrender to Army - Lagbaja


Participants at the seminar in Kano

By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh/Kano

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. TA Lagbaja, on Thursday in Kano, hinted that about 120, 000 Boko Haram fighters and their families in the North-East, have surrendered to the Nigerian Army.

COAS Lagbaja gave the hint while delivering a keynote address during the Second-quarter edition of the Nigerian Army Civil-Military Cooperation Media Chat 2024, held at Grand Central Hotel, Kano.

He was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Mayirensa Lander David Saraso.

According to him, the Nigerian Army and sister-security agencies have been winning the war against internal insecurity in the North West, North Central, South East, South West and South South regions of the country.

He noted that:. “The culminating effects of these operations include the rescue of abducted Nigerians, such as the 350 persons rescued from Sambisa forest last month, the surrender of over 120,000 Boko Haram fighters and their family members in the North East, the desire of over 20,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon to return to their ancestral homes in Borno and Adamawa states, and the thwarting/rescue of thousands of kidnapping incidents/victims across the country.”

The COAS said he was pleased to state that the Nigerian Army in collaboration with sister-services and other security agencies have continued to record remarkable successes.

“You may be aware troops of the Nigerian Army operating with other security agencies have made significant milestones in operations across all theatres within Nigeria. Specifically, our gallant troops in the North East have neutralized hundreds of terrorists including scores of their top commanders thereby liberating several of their enclaves in the Sambisa forest, Tumbuktu triangle and the Mandara mountains.

“Our operations have also significantly restored socio-economic activities to most hitherto deserted communities while frustrating the illegal activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and other criminal elements in various parts of the country.

“As the Nigerian Army continue to conduct kinetic and non- kinetic operations geared towards complete elimination of elements and purveyors of insecurity in our beloved country, I urge all well-meaning Nigerians to keep faith with their army and continue to support our activities,” he said.

The COAS added that the event with the theme: “Synergizing Civil-Military Cooperation for National Security: Focus On Nigerian Army-Media Relations,” was designed to build a stronger relationship between the Nigerian Army and the media, recognizing the critical role the media plays in shaping public opinion, informing the people, and fostering transparency in governance.

Speaking further on the nagging need for Army-Media collaboration, the COAS said: “To achieve effective collaboration, it is imperative for us to foster an environment that encourages open dialogue and mutual respect. We must establish regular channels of communication, enabling transparent and accurate reporting of military operations and activities, timely dissemination of information for engendering public confidence and countering misinformation.

“In view of this, I urge you to exercise responsibility, accuracy, and fairness in reporting on Nigerian Army’s matters. While we acknowledge the importance of freedom of the press, it is crucial to strike a balance between national security interests and the public’s right to information. We must avoid disseminating fake news or inflammatory contents that could undermine national unity and security.

“I want to reiterate Nigerian Army’s commitment to improving media access to our operations within the bounds of operational security. We understand the need for accurate reporting on our activities, as it aids in building trust between the Nigerian Army and the civil population.

“This underscores the significance of a consistent and transparent communication strategy implemented by the Nigerian Army. Let me also emphasize the cruciality of acknowledging and embracing our respective roles and responsibilities within this partnership. As the Nigerian Army diligently fulfils its constitutional mandates, it is equally imperative for the media to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, accuracy, impartiality, and patriotism.

“By doing so, media practitioners can ensure that their reports contribute positively to national security objectives. In essence, this Media Chat signifies our unwavering dedication to transparent and effective communication between the Nigerian Army and the media practitioners.

“Together, we can enhance public understanding, build trust, and promote the greater welfare of our beloved nation. Please note that collaboration between the military and the media should not be limited to the reporting of conflicts, terrorism, or security threats alone.

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“We must extend our engagements to areas of national development, peace-building, and community engagement. Joint efforts in highlighting projects and initiatives aimed at uplifting the lives of our citizens will contribute to fostering a positive image of the Nigerian Army and its commitment to nation-building.

“I also solicit the cooperation and understanding of the media to be committed to the ideals of responsible and professional practices by being balanced and objective in their reporting of security matters. Balanced and objective reporting requires a deliberate effort to ensuring that national interest and security are not jeopardized on the basis of press freedom and the urgency to be the first to break the news.

“Therefore, media executives and editors should be circumspect when issues of national security and survival are concerned. I therefore urge you to be committed partners with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies as we collectively unite to combat insecurity in our country so as to restore peace, stability and progressive development for this generation and indeed future generations.”

In her remarks, the Special Guest of Honour, Victoria Ajayi, who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TV Continental (TVC) said, “in an era characterized by evolving security threats and dynamic information landscapes, the significance of effective civil-military cooperation cannot be overstated.

“Our ability to safeguard our citizens hinges on the synergy between these two critical pillars of our society; the media and the military.”

According to her: “The Nigerian Army stands as a fortification of our national defence, tasked with ensuring the safety and security of our people in the face of multifaceted security challenges.

“In this endeavour, the role of the media emerges as indispensable, serving as a channel through which information flows between the military and the civilians, fostering transparency, understanding, and mutual trust. The theme of today’s media chat underscores the vital need for a harmonious relationship between the Nigerian Army and the media.

“As we navigate the complexities of modern security threats, effective communication and collaboration are essential in shaping public perceptions, countering misinformation, and upholding the integrity of our national security apparatus.

“In this regard, I commend the Nigerian Army for its efforts to engage with the media, fostering productive interactions that enhance transparency and promote a shared understanding of our collective security challenges.

“By synergising civil-military cooperation, we not only strengthen our defence capabilities but also reinforce the bonds of trusts that underpin our nation’s resilience. As we look forward to robust engagement, I urge all stakeholders to prioritize the cultivation of a robust partnership between the Nigerian Army and the media.

“By working together in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration, we can confront emerging threats, counter disinformation, and uphold the values that define our nation.

“Please, allow me to express my commendation for the Nigerian for the Nigerian Army’s steadfast commitment to safeguarding our nation and fostering military-media relations. I extend my gratitude to the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TA Lagbaja, for inviting me as the Special Guest of Honour on this significant occasion. I also want to recognize and thank our valued media partners for their dedication and professionalism in serving our country.

“Through our loyalty and patriotism, we can work towards a secure Nigeria. I am
confident that today’s discussions will enhance our collaboration with the Nigerian Army, leading to a safer and more prosperous future for Nigeria.

“Finally, let us reaffirm our commitment to synergising civil-military cooperation for the greater good of our nation’s security. By harnessing the power of collaboration, communication, and shared purpose, we pave the way for a safer, more secure Nigeria for generations to come.

“I am optimistic that the achievement of national security objectives hinges on a strong partnership between the Nigerian Army and the media, complemented by the contributions of other well meaning Nigerians and our partners worldwide. I thus call upon everyone here to engage the discussion with honesty and open-mindedness.”

Three lectures were presented during the event which include: Optimizing Media Collaboration for Improved Civil-Military Cooperation: An Assessment of the Nigerian Army, by Major General NE Angbazo (rtd); Harmonizing Operational Security with Transparency: Media Coverage of Nigerian Army Efforts, by Prof. Cosmos Ikechukwu Eze; Cultivating Media Partnership for Accurate Reporting on Nigerian Army Operations, by Prof. Mainasara Yakubu Kurfi.

The event also gave opportunities for journalists to share their negative and positive experiences while covering Nigerian Army activities, after which there was a collective resolve by all participants that Army-Media cordial relationship remains sacrosanct to national security and development.

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