The Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) has stressed the need for continuous engagement of government and security agencies with the media in the fight against insurgency to avoid misinformation of the public.
He stated this position while delivering a paper on Strategic Communication in National Security at the Strategy, Statecraft and National Security Workshop for participants of Course 24 Study Programme at the National Defence College, Abuja.
Omeri said the initial challenges encountered by the military in the fight were occasioned largely by the lack of understanding on the part of the civilian populace about the nature of the war and their role in it. A consequence of this, he noted, was the initial unwillingness of civilians to provide information on the operations of the insurgents. He traced the situation to the lack of coordinated strategic communication by the various security agencies until the establishment of the National Information Centre (NIC) which furnished the media with prompt and accurate information about the anti-insurgency war.
He commended the government for establishing an effective counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency programme in response to the challenge. Furthermore, he expressed confidence in the ability of the current campaign by government in the various media to dissuade disgruntled persons from engaging in the destruction of critical infrastructure as well as reassure citizens of the ability of government and all appropriate agencies to mitigate the damage suffered as a result of insurgency. He however discouraged the circulation of any unbalanced and unverified story capable of undermining the success so far recorded in the fight against insurgency.
The NOA Director General also called for close interaction between security officers in the field and civilians in those localities as it would enable civilians understand and propagate the heroic efforts of our gallant officers. He also urged that appropriate spokespersons be chosen for strategic communication and psychological operations to suit the nuances and psyche of the citizens in line with the mood of crisis situations.