By Sumaila Ogbaje
The newly appointed Director Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, has solicited the support of the Nigerian media in projecting the image of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) positively.
Sawyerr made the call when he paid a familiarisation visit to the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Deputy Director, Defence Information, Air Commodore Wap Maigida, in a statement on Wednesday, said the director also urged the media to leverage its prowess to change the negative perception and narrative on the security situation in the country.
He said it was necessary for Nigerians to appreciate the selfless sacrifices of men and women of the AFN towards ensuring peace and unity of the nation.
Sawyerr stated that the media was a powerful instrument that coordinates all the elements of national powers to bring about national development.
He urged the media to continue to support and cooperate with the military via positive coverage and reportage of its activities in the quest to move the country on the path of peace and progress.
According to him, whenever the media is against a state, the end result is that the state will fail.
“The concerted efforts of the AFN has impacted on the mass surrendering of Boko Haram terrorists who in recent times are surrendering in numbers with their weapons and families,” he said.
Sawyerr expressed the desire to build a cordial working relationship with the media to be able to move the country forward.
He also solicited support for the Armed Forces Radio in the area of capacity building for the personnel of the station.
Responding, the Director-General of FRCN, Dr Mansur Liman, expressed readiness to continue to support and promote the operational engagement and activities of the military.
Liman said the media would help to avail Nigerians the opportunity to better understand and appreciate what the military was doing in the defence of the nation, most especially in the North East and other areas with security challenges.
He also promised to continue to provide manpower to the AFNRS and as well provide capacity building in area of broadcast training for personnel at the radio station.
On his part, the Director-General of VON, Mr Osita Okechukwu, enjoined the citizens to give the military their support and cooperation towards restoring peace and security to the country.
Okechukwu further assured the defence spokesman that VON would use the station’s wide coverage to project the image of the military both home and abroad.
At the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Secretariat, the President and Chairman of the Council, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, assured the military of the institute’s readiness to partner and support the AFN in discharging it’s constitutional duties.
Sirajo also promised to further protect the mutual interest that has existed between the institute and the military spokespersons.