BON, Army Partner Against Hate Speech
The Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) has pledged to partner with the Nigerian Army to sensitize citizens on issues of fake news and hate speeches before, during and after the 2019 general elections. The alliance was formed when the Central Working Committee of the organization, led by its acting Chairman and Vice chairman, Sir Godfrey Ohubunwa, paid a courtesy visit on the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, on Thursday 31st January, 2019, at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.
Sir Ohuabuna lauded the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Gen Buratai for the success on the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East region, expressing satisfaction with the ability of the Army in protecting the territorial integrity of the nation. He encouraged the COAS never to get dispirited over unnecessary distractions, maintaining that the Nigerian Army had done a lot for the unity of the country.
The chairman further said there was the need to change the narratives on information gathering and dissemination in the country in order to protect the citizens from being misinformed.
He said that the advent of “Citizens Journalism” where all citizens are engaged in unprofessional dissemination of information, poses great challenge to professional information gathering and dissemination noting the need to tackle it from the strategic level to save the nation from its negative effects.
He further reiterated that BON believes very strongly that they can partner with the Nigerian Army especially in combating Fake news. He also said that they want to help put the right information and also be strategic in information dissemination and management.
In his response, the COAS said that he was glad to receive them at the Army Headquarters. The also appreciated their immense contribution towards peace and national development. He described their work as very noble and important as elections in Nigeria are always associated with violence. It is therefore important to avoid that through monitoring broadcast contents and advised for the dissemination of credible and timely information. He assured that the Nigerian Army would fully support and cooperate with the BON in that regard.
The COAS further stated that it was in an effort to prevent breach of peace and security, the Nigerian Army in conjunction with other security agencies embarked on Exercise EGWU EKE III. He assured that the exercise was not meant to intimidate anybody but to create conducive atmosphere for peaceful and hitch free general elections.
The COAS promised to engage BON more in order to ensure a free, fair and peaceful elections in the country, maintaining that the role of the Nigerian Army is to assist the civil police to guarantee the peaceful conduct of the elections. Stating that, the Army would not interfere with the electioneering process, adding that it would deal with issues of fake news and hate speeches that will mar the conduct of the elections. He said the Army through its Cyber Warfare Command, has perfected plans to establish outlets across the country in order to monitor the elections live. He also disclosed that he had directed commanders at all levels to ensure joint deployment of troops in the interest of the country.
Climax of the visit was a one-minute silence observed in honour of officers and soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice in maintaining peace in parts of the country. Present at the occasion were some Principal Staff Officers of the Army Headquarters, as well as some executive members of the BON Central Working Committee.
SANI KUKASHEKA USMAN
Director Army Public Relations