Feelers within the military have revealed that they are unhappy with the daily joint press briefing on the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operation handled by the National Orientation Agency (NOA). They said its aimed at informing members of the public about the progress in tackling the nation’s security challenges.
According to a top security source, who drew the attention of some defense reporters to the development, the NOA lacks the technical capacity to inform on military and security matters, which is different from its basic orientation duties.
“You would recall that in the last few days, the NOA press centre has become a forum where the spokesmen for all the security agencies-the military, the Police, the State Security agencies and a few others inform the populace about the security challenges and the ongoing counter-insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country.”
“Whoever arranged this got it wrong and I don’t know why the spokespersons accepted it, because the programme is a misnomer and it is not in the interest of the military,” the source said.
Further investigation showed that while the Police and State Security Service (SSS) are comfortable with the new structure, the military feel short-changed, warning that “what the government stands to lose is going to be much more than its gain if it is not stopped.”
“Let me also let you realise that it is the duty of the Police and the SSS to handle intelligence gathering, are they now saying their spokesmen should be telling the whole world the information in their possession?”
According to one senior officer: “What the government wants to achieve remains to be seen with that jamboree press briefing. Is there anything they want to know that is not made known to them? We are in a war situation and there is no military anywhere in the world that go to the market to discuss its war strategies.
“NOA has its primary responsibilities, which include public enlightenment and education of what the government is doing or its policies. And even in the ongoing security challenges, the NOA has not been doing this to the maximum.
Many people are still ignore of security awareness and this is why those bombers are still having their days in the public places. This is what the agency should face instead of dabbling into a zone it is ignorant of.”
The officer further expressed displeasure with the situation, describing it as “not professional”, while calling on the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, to direct the NOA Director, Mr. Mike Omeri, to stop the programme.
The source noted: “Labaran Maku, the Information Minister, was a journalist and he should know better. The earlier he stops the programme the better.
“I was personally embarrassed the last time the CNN reporter was asking Omeri question on a life broadcast and the reporter said the programme is being sponsored by the Ministry of Information but Omeri said no, it is the NOA that organises it. This is a misnomer and it is not in the interest of the military.”
According to the senior Officer, Maku should know better, saying: “I strongly believe the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, allows the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major-Gen Chris Olukolade, to go there out of respect and loyalty to the President and not because it is the right thing to do.”