Selective Media Invitations by Military Authorities At Op. Hadin Kai Injurious To Civil-Military Cooperation  

By Abdulkareem Haruna 

The recent decision by the military authority at the 7 Division Nigeria Army, and the Operation Hadin Kai Theater Command, to selectively invite journalists to cover their operations is a concerning development in the fight against insurgency in Northeast Nigeria. 

This decision, which has recently become a disturbing trend, goes against the spirit of civil-military cooperation and collaboration needed to succeed in ending the 14-year war on the shores of Lake Chad.

It is important to note that the media, regardless of their size, reach and capacity, have played critical roles in de-escalating the challenges faced by the military in the region. The media has helped to bring to light the atrocities committed by the insurgents, as well as the efforts of the military to combat them. This has helped to raise public awareness of the need to support the military in its efforts to end the insurgency. 

Some critical events for reference in this piece are the recent inauguration of a military court martial,  the recent visit of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Farouq Yahaya to the Theater during the Eid-elKabir celebration and the hand over and take over of the GOC at the 7-Division Nigerian army that took place on Sunday, 23 April. 

By denying a section of journalists access to cover their operations, the military is effectively keeping critical information from the public. This is a dangerous development, as it could lead to misinformation and rumors which could undermine the efforts of the military. It is important for the public to have accurate and timely information on the progress of the military operations, and the media plays a crucial role in providing this information to the public. 

Furthermore, the decision to selectively invite journalists to cover military operations could lead to mistrust between the military and the media. This could have far-reaching consequences, as a breakdown in civil-military cooperation could hinder efforts to end the insurgency. 

I am particularly worried that this is happening at a time we felt we have long past this level. Until now, there had been a robust relationship built on national interest between the journalists and the military both at the Theater and the Divisional level. 

It is imperative to note that since the days of General SK Usman, Col. Dole, Col.Sagir Musa, General Nwachukwu, and General Ado who were spokesmen of the Theater or the 7 Division at different times, issues like selective invitation were never recorded, until now. 

The visit of a COAS to any part of Nigeria should, by default, be a newsworthy event to every journalist in that location. In such events policy and operational strategy pronouncements are made which must be reported. And this is even more important for journalists in northeast Nigeria. 

The military should recognize the important role that the media plays in the fight against insurgency and should work to ensure that journalists are not excluded from covering their operations, especially now that we are edging towards the post insurgency era. 

Keeping information from the media could have far-reaching consequences and could hinder efforts to end the insurgency. 

I hope authorities at both Operation Hadin Kai and 7 Division NA take heed of this friendly call to attention and immediately shove a wedge on the wheels of this dangerous drift, before it gets out of hand. 

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