Directorate of Defence Information briefing is held on monthly basis or as the need arises to keep both the public abreast of contemporary issues through the media. It is equally a forum to address and update them on issues of strategic and national security importance that must have been topics of public discourse, which requires clarification.
The brief will cover the activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) in particular in all the geopolitical zones of the country, the international arena and other security matters.
The purpose of this forum therefore is to ensure that; accurate information is provided by the DDI through the media to the public. It is hoped that this would engender a better working atmosphere between the media and the Directorate and reduce distortion of information to the public globally and locally to a large extent. It is a truism that “if we don’t say it, they will say it for us”.
The major Operational activity of the Nigerian Armed Forces in NE is Operation LAFIYA DOLE with emphasis on Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. It has the NA, NN and NAF components. The AFN has been able to decimate and degrade the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) from their TERROGENSIC activity to splinter acts of terrorism here and there mostly within Borno State. Currently, clearance operation is on going jointly by the AFN to eliminate both active and passive acts of terrorism in the NE. It is worthy of note that some countries such as Britain, USA and France among others provided one form of assistance to the military in our effort so far in the NE. It is hoped that the collaboration would continue to ensure that; this “evil of terrorism is eliminated from Nigeria and equally degraded globally.
Operation SHARAN DAJI is the joint operation by the AFN to curtail banditry and cattle rustling in particular among others in the NW. Currently, the activities of the criminals has been checkmated tremendously. It is highly desirable to point out here, that a good number of criminals that were engaged in these activities embraced the amnesty offer by Zamfara State Government. It is expected that, other states in the NW would emulate Zamfara State, so that; this wickedness of criminality is eradicated from the zone in particular and Nigeria in general. However, I must say that the AFN acknowledge and appreciate all other forms of support provided so far by the various states in the NW aimed at ensuring the security of lives and property.
Operation SAFE HAVEN is the Operation being conducted in the NC zone with the epicenter in Plateau State. It is aimed at curtailing incessant ethno-religious crisis, combating cattle rustling, armed robbery, sectarian crisis and erstwhile attacks by BHTs among others. It can be rightly said that relative peace has returned particularly to Plateau State. The efforts of opinion, community and religious leaders among others were key to the success of the AFN and other paramilitary agencies involved at ensuring that peace returns to the general area. However, it is necessary to sustain this effort through encouragement by the State Government. The support of the Government to the Task Force is highly appreciated by the Nigerian military. Leaders in various categories in other states of the country are requested to emulate those of Plateau State to facilitate peaceful co-existence and security of lives and property.
The main Operation by the AFN in the SW part of Nigeria is Operation AWATSE aimed at curbing; pipeline vandalism and petroleum products related criminality with negative socio-economic consequence for the country. It is ongoing. Surveillance is key to the success of the military in this operation, which is based on accurate and timely intelligence/information. In this regard, the general public around Lagos and Ogun States in particular are very useful for more successes in this operation. Therefore, encouraging and positive reportage of these criminal activities against the Nigerian economy is highly desirable from the media and hereby solicited by the AFN.
The current Operation in the SS and SE of the country by the Nigerian military is Operation DELTA SAFE. It is to stem the activities of oil thieves and other criminalities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. In this regard, several illegal refineries, and other illegal bunkering activities have been curtailed. The operation is on-going. It is hoped that with the proposal of the Federal Government to encourage the illegal refiners to regularize and legalise their ventures, there would be a reduction if not eradication of this economic crime among the other criminalities in the Niger Delta region. It will therefore bear positively on Op DELTA SAFE. The media is therefore requested to focus on the positive benefits of the Federal Government offer to the general public.
Nigerian Armed Forces are participating in most major PSOs under the auspices of the UN. This has brought commendation to the AFN and the country at large. Our record of outstanding performance at various theatres of PSOs is still being maintained. It is necessary to encourage the troops out there with local media commendation which would engender international respect and support.
The AFN is also active on ECOWAS Multinational missions. The most recent being ECOMIG to ensure continuity of democratic governance. The support of the local media is solicited for a far reaching effect internationally and at the UN.
Nigeria is part of the MNJTF comprising Niger, Chad, Cameroun and Benin Republic. The Force has been recording huge successes. The efforts of MNJTF has been highly complementary to successfully degrading BHT activities around the Lake Chad Basin and the common borders of Nigeria – Cameroun – Chad and Niger Republics.
Internal Security Operations are mostly complementary operations by the AFN. They are of lower magnitude than the main zonal operations that are on-going. They are more like standing Operations. These include Operation SAFE CONDUCT, Operation IRON FENCE and Operation MESA. However, snap operations could be activated for a very short duration and called off after achieving the aim.
Military Exercises are usually conducted for field training of members of the Armed Forces. It is always necessary to let the general public to be aware of peace time training exercises to allay fear of any kind. The AFN has been doing this and will continue to do so. The most recent was the NN Exercise OBANGAME Express in Nigeria’s coastal waters (Gulf of Guinea) and NA Small Arms Championship in Sambisa forest. Adequate and needful publicity is highly desirable to engender confidence about the fitness of the AFN among Nigerians and the international community.
The Civil-Military Relations between Nigerians and the AFN has been cordial but not without intermittent complaints on few occasions. The military carries out medical outreaches, reconstruction of public facilities such as schools, provision of escort and protection parties to civil authorities/organizations visiting operational areas. It is worthy to state here that any reported case of incident between the civil population and any military personnel is always handled appropriately.
The AFN will continue to sustain this Civil-Military relationship. I kindly request the press to spread the military’s sincerity in this regard.
The brief presented for March 2017 covered AFN ongoing operations in all the geopolitical zones of the country, international operations and military exercises. At this juncture, the floor is now open for our interaction.