Kidnapping, cattle rustling and farmer/ herders clashes pose more threat to the peaceful coexistence of Nigeria than the insurgency in the northeast, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan-Ali, has said.
The minister, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the national workshop on civil military relations and the media which held in Kaduna, Thursday, observed that armed conflict situations often present fertile ground for friction between the military and the media.
He said the security threats call for increased inter- security agency collaboration in the area of intelligence information sharing and effective collaboration with the media to turn the tide against criminal elements.
The minister said to achieve that, efforts must be sustained to create a framework for enhanced synergy among security agencies and with the media.
He said: “Until crime and criminality rates are greatly reduced to the barest minimum, the hope of creating the enabling environment required to attract foreign investors and increase national revenue generation will continue to remain a mirage.”
He said the military must however at all times be conscious of the law and be guided by the rules of engagement; while it is imperative for the media to be guided by professional ethics.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, observed that both the armed forces and the media had a responsibility towards protecting the citizenry hence must not work at cross purposes.
He said the role of the military in modern times had expanded beyond external aggression to tackling new challenges that were beyond conventional policing.
He commended the military for creating the platform to engage the media, saying it was his hope that at the end of the workshop, the media and armed forces would understand each other better and work towards the common goal of protecting the citizenry.
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai who was represented by his adviser on security, Murtala Abbas, said the workshop was coming at the right time.