The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has pleaded with journalists to stop portraying the personnel of the Nigerian Army in bad light.
Buratai spoke at a two-day civil-media-military relations summit organised for journalists in the South-east.
The COAS accused print and broadcast media journalists of painting the Nigerian Armed Forces negatively than positively to their audiences.
Buratai, who was represented by the Chief Training and Operations Officer, Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Eno Obong Udoh, noted that an organisation like the Nigerian Army cannot rule out bad eggs among its personnel.
The Army chief accused the media of demoralising the military personnel who he said stake their lives to keep the nation safe.
“How can you be vilifying the same people that are staking their lives and their troops everyday and actually paying the supreme price for you? How can you be vilifying them every day?
“Some people will just sit down on television, holding discussions only about the Nigerian Army, thinking that they will win awards for doing so.
“This (summit) is a great and historic occasion that will hopefully create the awareness of what the Nigerian Armed Forces and all the security agencies are doing in this country to curb the mirage of security threats that is facing this nation so that there can be development in our great nation; so that Nigeria can be as great as it is supposed to be.
“In 2007-2008, our oil production level was only 700 barrels per day. Who has forgotten that? Today, people are saying: why should Nigerian Army defend pipeline? Is it because we are not producing? Is it because we are not producing 2.2 million barrels and above per day? Or should we go back to 700 barrels per day?
“Not too long, bombs were exploding in the whole Abuja, even the UN (United Nations) building was hit. Today, because of the efforts of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, nothing of such is happening again. “Only some days back, the UN building was opened and people now have the atmosphere to sit down and keep on vilifying the same people who made this possible. One of those offenders is the media; the greatest offender. This is because you (media) shape public opinion.”
“The media is the one who is emphasising on the casualties of Nigerian Army as against the casualties of Boko Haram insurgents, bandits and so on. You are the one writing and supporting them unwittingly through your publications. By so doing, you demoralise the troops.
“The media forget that they should be the one raising the morale of the troops who have put their lives on the line. The media is the greatest offender and this historic event is not just for Atilogwu Udo; it is to correct the wrong impression or perception that we spread in our media, that the Nigerian Army is against the people.”