The newly appointed Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, on Friday, assumed office with a call to the media to support the military to achieve its mandate of defending the country.
Sawyerr took over from Air Commodore Wap Maigida, who had been acting following the appointment of the former Director, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu as Director, Army Public Relations in June.
Sawyerr was the Commandant of the Nigerian Army Armour School Bauchi, before his new appointment.
In his address, he said the new assignment was a clarion call for him to contribute his quota towards the realisation of the leadership focus of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
He said the leadership focus of the CDS was, “To Foster a Professional Armed Forces capable of effectively meeting its constitutional imperatives.”
The spokesperson said the leadership focus was being pursued vigourously in a professional manner, saying it would require the support of the media at all times.
Sawyerr stated that his responsibilities were to project the Nigerian armed forces, galvanise the support of the media and the citizens for all military engagements.
He stated that the military, in synergy with other security agencies, had continued to work round the clock to surmount the nation’s numerous security challenges.
“These ugly developments, which have continued to affect the peaceful co-existence of the citizens of our dear country, would in no distant time be a thing of the past.
“I must, therefore, be quick to say that the media which is commonly referred to as the fourth estate of the realm is a vital component in the entire process.
“Let me, therefore, solicit the support of media operators in all spectrums to consider jettisoning sensational headlines that give undue publicity to perpetrators of acts of criminality that tend to undermine our national security,” he said.
Sawyerr commended the Defence Correspondents for exhibiting a high sense of professionalism in the reportage of the fight against domestic and foreign adversaries over the years.
According to him, it is ethical and patriotic to be objective, fair and balanced in media coverage and reportage.
“I want to also encourage you to maintain these journalistic virtues as you redouble your efforts in supporting the AFN to ensure that the needed peace is restored in all the troubled parts of our dear nation.
“Let me assure you of an open door policy and honest communication parameters that are proactive and responsive.
“It is important that we remain patriotic and responsive by providing credible, timely and actionable information to aid the armed forces and other security agencies in performing their constitutional roles,” he said.
Earlier, the outgoing Acting Director, Maigida, assured the new director of the unalloyed commitment and support of the entire staff of the directorate towards the attainment of set objectives.
Maigida said the media had been a veritable partner in galvanising goodwill and support for the military in the quest of maintaining national security, peaceful and harmonious coexistence among Nigerians.
He urged the defence correspondents to continue to support the new director to succeed in his assignment.
“I would like to express my profound appreciation to officers and men as well as civilian staff for their dedication and commitment during this period.
“I urge you all to extend the same vigour and strength to our incumbent director so as to enable us take the directorate to greater height,” he said. (NAN)
El-Rufai Raises Alarm Over Presence Of Boko Haram, ISWAP In Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has raised an alarm about the activities of terrorist groups in the State.
Speaking during the presentation of the first quarter security report for 2022 to the state’s security council, Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, said members of the Ansaru and Boko Haram terrorists groups have infiltrated some parts of Birnin Gwari and Giwa local government areas.
Aruwan said the terrorists have been luring locals with gifts with a view to recruiting them into the criminal organisations.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai expressed concern that the terrorists are moving from the North-East to the North-West with the intention of causing havoc.
He added that those who attacked the Abuja-Kaduna bound train were Boko Haram terrorists.
The Governor is also worried that the conduct of the 2023 general elections might be compromised in Kaduna state if the security challenges are not addressed.
Meanwhile, Aruwan said no fewer than 360 people have been killed by suspected terorrists in different parts of Kaduna State from January to April.
Kaduna central senatorial zone recorded the highest casualties with 214 deaths, the Commissioner said.
Aruwan further noted that 1,389 people were kidnapped by bandits in different attacks across Kaduna State during the period under review, including the 62 victims of the March 28 attack on a Abuja-Kaduna train.
Zamfara Govt Dethrones Two Emirs, District Head Accused Of Aiding Banditry
The Zamfara State government has dethroned two emirs and a district head over allegations of aiding the activities of bandits terrorising communities in the state.
Those affected by the government’s decision include the Emir of Zurmi, Abubakar Atiku, Emir of Dansadau, Hussaini Umar, as well as Sulaiman Ibrahim who used to be the District Head of Birnin Tsaba.
Mr Ibrahim Dosara, who is the Commissioner for Information in Zamfara, made the announcement on Wednesday while briefing reporters at the end of the State Executive Council meeting in Gusau, the state capital.
“The council has approved the deposition of Emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and that of Dansadau, Alhaji Hussaini Umar,” he declared.
“The council also approved the immediate removal of the District Head of Birnin-Tsaba, Alhaji Sulaiman Ibrahim.”
According to the commissioner, the government has also ordered that all land titles issued by the affected traditional leaders be revoked.
“The State Executive Council has also directed the state Ministry of Justice to issue an executive order to back up the council resolution,” he added.
The deposition of the traditional leaders comes 10 months after they were suspended by the state government.
It also comes days after the submission of the reports of the committees set up by the state government to investigate the allegations against the affected traditional rulers.
“The council upheld the recommendation of a six-man white paper committee set up by the government to review the report of two separate committees earlier set up to investigate the involvement of the three traditional rulers in the activities of banditry in the state,” said a statement by Governor Bello Matawalle’s media aide, Zailani Bappa.
“The three impeached royal fathers were earlier suspended by the state government following wide allegations of serious involvement in the act of banditry in the state.
“The findings of the committees also revealed abuse of the Land Act in their domain and the government ordered the reversal to status quo involving the lands illegally allocated.”
Senate Passes Amended Terrorism Act, Criminalises Payment Of Kidnap Ransom
The Senate has prohibited the payment of ransoms to kidnappers in its bid to complement the Federal Government’s effort to tackle the disturbing spate of insecurity in the country.
Payment of kidnap ransom was criminalised by the lawmakers during Wednesday’s plenary in Abuja as they passed the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
The prohibition by the lawmakers followed the receipt and consideration of a report by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters on the bill.
Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, who chairs the committee, had moved that the lawmakers receive the report after which he presented it for consideration.
Thereafter, the lawmakers resolved into the committee of the whole to consider the report, clause by clause, and reverted to plenary to report progress.
This led to the reading of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 (Amendment) Bill, 2022 for the third time and its subsequent passage.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, congratulated his colleagues on the passage of the bill which he said was very important.
“It is believed here in the Senate that this bill, by the time it is signed into Act by Mr President, will enhance the efforts of this government in the fight against terrorism, kidnapping, and other associated vices,” he said.
“This is one piece of legislation that can turn around not only the security issues of Nigeria but even the economy of the country.
I believe that the Executive will waste no time in signing this bill into law and it is our hope that this additional piece of legislation will achieve the purpose for which it has been worked upon.”
According to Lawan, the fight against insecurity is not the sole purpose of a government and the contributions and support of the citizens are essential.
He explained that this was because the security agencies need critical information to tackle terrorism, kidnapping, and other threats to the nation’s security.
The Senate President stated that the security agencies were trying their best but needed to do more and achieve better results.
“With this, once again, I want to congratulate the Senate for this very important piece of legislation,” he concluded.
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