The Nigerian Army, through it’s Department of Civil Military Affairs (SCMA) on Thursday, 24th August, 2023, engaged social media influencers and bloggers in Kebbi State, north west Nigeria as part of the force’s efforts in improving it’s relationship with the country’s civil population. It’s the 28th edition of the Social Media Influencers Seminar organised by the army in collaboration with Ukan Kurugh Foundation.
Chief of Civil Military Affairs (CCMA), Major General NC Ugbo says the Nigerian Army will continue to engage the civilian population through interactions to share ideas, urging Nigerians to embrace the force as it’s own with a positive outlook.
Gen Ugbo, who was represented at the seminar by the Director, Psychological Operations in the DCMA, Brigadier General BS Keji, stated that the army recognises the role of youth who form the bulk of online community in improving civil military relationship hence the seminar.
While thanking the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TA Lagbaja, NAM GSS psc(+) Isaac CM FCM FCMH MSS, on his vision for the army and for providing for the success of the seminar implored participants to enlighten the general public about the negative impact of fake news and misinformation on national cohesion and security.
In his remarks, the Special Guest of honour and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division Nigerian Army based in Gusau, Major General G. M. Mutkut, tasked social media users to be patriotic and have national interest and security at the back of their minds while posting their content.
General Muktuk, who was represented by the Chief of Staff of the Division, Brigadier General SS Ahmed, emphasised the need for stakeholders to play their role in achieving national security, avoiding fake news, misinformation and distorted information in the interest of the nation.
Two guest speakers, Prof Umar Dantani of Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, Hanza Ibrahim of Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), respectively presented papers on “The Role of social Media in Strengthening Civil Military Relations,” “Mitigating the Effects of Fake News and Dissemination: The Place of Social Media Influencers.”
Both papers exposed the dangers of fake news and misinformation on national cohesion and security, calling on social media users to always verify their content through fact checking as they avoid dissemination of fake news that is tantamount to causing enmity and civil unrest.
During the interactive session, Deputy Director, Civil Sponsorship in the DCMA, Col M. I. Amatso, stated that the COAS has provided room in all army barracks across the country as part of strategy to receive concerns from civilians with view to treating them, urging those who doubt it to try the validity of his claims by sending their complaints to the army chief using the boxes and they will be expeditiously treated.
Col. Amatso explained that the army is here to serve Nigerians and is always accessible and responsive in handling issues of national interest and security.
Hundreds of participants attended the seminar, which was held at the Saffar Conference Centre, Birnin Kebbi. Some of the participants including Muhammed Liman Garba, Abdulwahab Mohammed Jega, Habiba Zuru, Dr. Philips Guda and Grace Okoh who commended the Nigerian Army for creating the forum called for it’s sustenance.
Goodwill messages were taken from Magdalene Anthony, Content Creator with Ukan Kurugh Foundation, Emir of Gwandu Muhammad Ilyasu Bashar (through his representative, Alhaji Musa Abubakar), Majikera Jega, Alh Abubakar Na’amare Jega and Kebbi State Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Nuruddeen Bala Fingiller. They all commended the Nigerian Army for the initiative while thanking the Army for it’s role in defending Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
Magdalene particularly thanked COAS for his approval and support, which she said has made the seminar a success.
Highlights of the seminar include group photograph, presentation of souvenirs to the Special Guest of Honour, Guest Speakers and heads of other security agencies present as well as certificates to participants.