Military Expresses Support for Political Decision on Chibok Girls

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• Debunks any misgivings

Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has expressed support for the authorities and political decisions in handling the processes leading to the negotiated release of some of the Chibok girls.

Reports emerged that members of the Armed Forces were not pleased with the manner in which they were relegated to the background in the whole process leading to the freedom of 21 out of over 200 female students of Government Secondary School (GSS) Chibok, Borno State that were abducted two years ago by Boko Haram terrorists.

The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, in a statement yesterday, debunked the insinuating that there are mixed feelings among Nigerian military ranks and files as a result of the recent release of some Chibok girls.

Abubakar stated: “The military wishes to state unequivocally that the Armed Forces will continue to work closely with all our sister security agencies to achieve more feat in this direction.
“The military also want to debunk the baseless and unfounded story that there is disquiet in the military over the condition of release of the girls. The Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies are one working together to finish the war on terror and other criminalities which can be done covertly or overtly.

“The most important thing is achieving our strategic objective. The DHQ has said before that negotiation with the terrorists or any other group rests purely on our respected political leaders. The military operations to rid our land of terrorists continue.”
He noted that “not all information are meant for public consumption due to processes which is purely political.”

The Defence Spokesman said the ongoing military operation is making unprecedented progress with rescue of many captives held by the terrorists. He urged members of the public to discountenance what he described as “baseless and misleading story”.

Abubakar stressed that while the Armed Forces holds the media as a veritable partner, it urges the media to be mindful and clarify with the military when reporting security and defence issues bothering on sensitive national matters of this nature.

Meanwhile, the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has stated that effective and systemic use of strategic communication in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is key to counter-terrorism and overall national security operations.

The Coordinator, Counter-Terrorism Centre (CTC), ONSA, Commodore Yem Musa, stated this yesterday, at a one-day ‘strategic communication analytical technique exercise’ in Abuja.
Musa said the nature of asymmetric warfare and the liberalisation of information access through the social media has made it imperative for any state actors serious about its national security to develop efficient and effective use of Strategic Communication.

He noted that the threat from terrorists, insurgent groups and other non-state actors in the country, has called for enhanced capacity and holistic measures to deal with the emerging security challenges.

The CTC boss however, expressed regret that whereas the non-state actors in the country, have perfected effective use of the social media, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to deadly effect, the government is still playing a catch-up role.

Musa informed stakeholders at the exercise that “strategic communication is a crucial tool for counter terrorism and counter insurgency and permeates all governance structures and enhance national security and well-being”.

In the same vein, the Facilitator of Strategic Communication, Mr. Zakari Mijinyawa, stressed that strategic communication is beyond public relations and media management.
According to Mijinyawa, strategic communication is what makes terror cells or groups appear larger than they are. He however, lamented that “for most governments, strategic communication is an afterthought”.

He listed public diplomacy, public affairs, information operation and psychological operation as the four major components of Strategic communication. At the end of the exercise, participants agreed on the need to develop a common lexicon on strategic communication across MDAs in Nigeria.