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New defence spokesperson assumes office, urges media support

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The new Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, taking over from the outgoing Acting Director, Air Commodore Wap Maigida on Friday in Abuja
The new Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Benjamin Sawyerr, taking over from the outgoing Acting Director, Air Commodore Wap Maigida on Friday in Abuja
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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)

 

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Defence and Security

Army Has No Desire To Truncate Nigeria’s Democracy — COAS

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Chief of Army Staff
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja
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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, on Tuesday, restated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to defend the nation’s choice of government, democracy.

Addressing participants at a seminar on career planning and management organised by the Army headquarters, the COAS said the Army has no plans to truncate democracy in the country.

He charged officers of the Nigerian Army to remain above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to reiterate that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly the Nigerian Army has come to terms with the country’s choice of democracy as the preferred system of governance,” he said during his address to officers.

“We are therefore agents of democracy and have no desire to truncate it. The Nigerian Army will continue to defend our constitution and not suspend it for whatever reason.

“It is the duty of our elected leaders to lead while the military does its job as enshrined in our constitution. Nigerian Army personnel must therefore remain professional and be above board as they discharge their constitutional duties.”

The commitment by the COAS followed the series of putsches in West and Central Africa which have experienced at least seven military takeovers in the last four years.

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and most recently, Niger Republic — all members of the Economic Community of Western African States ( ECOWAS) — have pulled out from the regional bloc in last four years. Outside of West Africa, Chad and Sudan also experienced military coups in 2021.

 

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Defence and Security

Economic: Defence Chief Warns Coup Advocates

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Defence HQ Logo
Defence HQ Logo
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The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has warned against advocating for a coup due to economic hardship, emphasizing patience and the superiority of democracy.

He made this known on Thursday while speaking with journalists at the Nigerian Army 6 Division Headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after commissioning some building projects.

General Musa urged individuals promoting military takeover to cease such statements.

The Chief of Defence Staff had earlier commissioned the newly constructed Entrance Gate and Officers Transit Accommodation at the 6 Division Headquarters.

Protests have occurred in Ogun, Oyo, Kano, Niger and some parts of the country in the last few weeks over the hardship experienced in the country as Nigerians lament food inflation, high cost of living, amongst other harsh living conditions occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, forex crisis, amongst others.

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Defence and Security

Security: Bill To Introduce State Police Scales Second Reading

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Federal House of Representatives
Federal House of Representatives
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A Constitution Amendment Bill to introduce state police has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, which was sponsored by 13 members of the House, enjoyed support from majority of the lawmakers in the green chamber who believed that concerns of political victimisation by state governors, should take the backseat to the current state of insecurity across the country.

Last week, President Bola Tinubu and 36 state governors considered the creation of state police as solution to the menacing security challenges like kidnapping and banditry ubiquitous in the country.

State police has been a subject of controversy since the Seventh National Assembly and has failed to make it through the amendment phase.

Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had recently restated their position on state policing, as the solution to the country’s worsening security situation, lamenting that Nigeria is “almost on the road to Venezuela”.

Also, regional socio-political groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum, and the Northern Elders’ Forum, have repeatedly called for state police as solution the myriad of increasing security challenges confronting the nation.

Already, states in the South-West geopolitical zone have formed the Amotekun while their counterparts in the South-East also created state-owned security outfit Ebube Agu. The Benue Guards has also been operational in Benue State in the North Central while states like Katsina, Zamfara and other bandit-prone sub-nationals have also come up with similar state-established outfits.

However, these outfits have not been effective as anticipated as they don’t have the backing of the Federal Government or the Presidency while states continue to demand that Amotekun, Ebube Agu and others are granted license to bear assault rifles like AK-47 to confront lethal gun-toting marauders.

 

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