Civil-military relations: Army engages social media influencers, journalists to combat fake news

From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As part of the efforts to combat fake news and misinformation especially on social media handles in the country, the Nigerian Army on Monday held an interactive session with scores of Kaduna-based social media influencers and online journalists to chat way forward.
The 15th edition of social media influencers seminar themed, “The Evolving Role of the Social Media in Support of the Nigerian Army Non-kinetic Line of Operations” was organised by the Department of Civil-Military Affairs, Army Headquarters in collaboration with Security Affairs Limited,  held at a hotel in Kaduna.
The Chief of Civil-Military Affairs, Nigerian Army, Major General MG Kangye who was represented by Brigadier General E E Egbe, noted that the seminar became necessary having understood that millions of Nigerians rely on social media platforms as their sources of information, hence, the need for the influencers and online journalists to fact-check every information at their disposals before sharing on their various handles websites.
According to this senior army officer, the seminar started in 2018 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as one of the ways the Nigerian Army interacts with the civil populace to foster harmonious and cordial Civil-Military relations which have been enabling the Nigerian Army to receive feedback on how to serve the Nigerian populace better.
He was confident that, the forum would again provide the army with the necessary and needed opportunity to freely interact, discuss, share ideas and rub minds particularly towards the eradication of the fake news syndrome in the country quickly added that, “security is everybody’s business”.
“We, therefore, acknowledge the fact that you all have very important roles to play in the promotion of peace and security in this country.
“It is very obvious that what you say, the way you say it and how it spreads have far-reaching implications than most of us think because the social media has a very crucial role to play in support of the Nigerian Army’s non-kinetic line of operations as well as shaping public opinion.
“As a respected organization, the Nigerian Army believes in impacting positively on the lives of the average Ccitizenas part of its cooperate social responsibilities and constitutional roles.
“For instance, in the area of community outreaches through Quick Impact Projects, the Nigerian Army in the last 5 years has carried out more than 100 Civil Military related projects aimed at bridging the gap with the civil populace and ensuring that the Nigerian Army is seen in the positive light as a responsible organisation
“We are all aware that cyberspace is the latest domain of modern warfare. Therefore, social media presents a veritable tool in influencing and shaping public opinion which is critical in deciding the outcome of battles.
“There is so much that the social media can do in support of Nigerian Army operations across the country.
“It is essential to note that tackling insecurity generally involves the use of kinetic and non-kinetic methods. These methods are complementary and situations, where criminals are encouraged to surrender, does not mean they will evade prosecutions for crimes committed.
“Therefore, it is necessary for Media Bloggers/Online Journalists to know and enlighten the populace on the dangers of misinformation or misinterpretation of same for the general security of our dear nation”, he added.

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