WHY MILITARY-CIVIL RELATIONSHIP IS NOT CORDIAL - ONWUAMAEGBU
The Commandant of the Nigerian Defence Academy Maj.-Gen Emeka Onwuamaegbu, has said that the prolonged military rule did not help the creation of a cordial relationship between the military and the civil populace in the country.
Onwuamaegbu, a two-term Director of the Army Public Relations, also said that most of the officers of the military preferred civil rule to military governance.
The NDA Commandant made the comments while delivering a lecture entitled, 'The Impact of Media on Military Operations' at the closing ceremony of the capacity building workshop organised by the Ministry of Defence for Defence Correspondent on Peace Support Operations at the Nigerian Army Peace Keeping Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State, on Friday.
The course, organised by the Ministry of Defence, was designed to enhance the capacity of correspondents covering the defence sector to give adequate coverage to the efforts of the men of the Armed Forces on peacekeeping operations.
He called for a general reorientation for the country to get to the desired level where the people's perception of the armed forces would change for the better, stressing though that it would take some time to get to the prevalent practice in the West, where soldiers were celebrated as heroes.
Onwuamaegbu, who called for more cooperation between the media and the military, said that there was a manifest lack of knowledge and understanding of workings of the media and the military by the operatives of both bodies.
The NDA Commandant noted that the military needed the media for the success of its operations during conflicts, adding that it was also a democratic obligation for the two to relate.
'The knowledge of the military about the media is very limited. Similarly, the level of understanding of the media practitioner about the military is limited…
'About 99 per cent of the military do not know that the media works extremely fast. Also dealing with the media is a command function, working with the media is not just necessary for success during military operations, it is also a democratic obligation,' he said.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Mr. Ezekiel Oyemomi, said that training programmes and workshops were essentials for defence correspondents to develop their capacities in order to give the expected level of coverage to the involvement of the nation's military in contributing to international peace.
He said that in spite of her enormous contributions to international peacekeeping efforts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan, Nigeria's efforts were not given the deserved coverage.