… Safety of Information Seekers Paramount in Military Operation
The Nigerian Military has cautioned advocacy groups against hate campaigns as it insisted that all its reports on counter-terrorism are based on the available information and observance of the elements of propriety, security, policy and accuracy which has remained its guiding principles.
In a letter addressed to the leadership of Bring-Back-Our_Girls (BBOG) group, the Director Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade cautioned them to be wary of those he called charlatan looking for a platform to denigrate the military for selfish and ulterior motives.
“I feel constrained to call your attention to the existence and activities of charlatans in your midst who have never had the privilege of responsible service in public sector but are now keen to see everyone in position brought down to entertain their fancy and envy.”
Olukolade noted that some have sought to equate military’s efforts to give accounts of activities on the nation’s war on terror as propaganda or cover up.
He said the battle situation around could be very fluid and susceptible to rapid changes. “The situations around the battle could also change accordingly in an inexplicable manner. This trend is also compounded by various perspectives that have been employed to seriously polarise the understanding of the situation along the line of all kinds of sentiments and biases prevailing in the environment. We cannot engage in a shouting match with those who have other motives. We can only try to explain situation to the best of our understanding and available information.”
He also restated the concern of the military on the safety of journalists and other information seekers in the warfront. “Our concern remains the issue of safety for anyone in search of information. Much as we want to assist genuine seekers of information we do not feel obliged to devout scarce resources to satisfying the fancy of pleasure seeking adventurers or the curious and mindless critics who just want to roam around with questionable motives. We should not be blackmailed into compromising the security of information and operations in the name of undefined idea of transparency.”
General Olukolade added the military as an institution derive a lot of inspiration from the appreciation and commendation from well-meaning individuals and organisations who continue to urge the military on against blackmail and malicious criticism.
He therefore urged the advocacy groups to save their platforms from being used to perpetrate injustice, undue hate campaign and antagonism but should engage in meaningful and robust interface with the security agencies in the drive to secure the return of our girls.