Can DDMO Manage Information on Military Operations?
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
Crime and violence are inevitable. They are permanent features of many societies. They result in wanton annihilation of human lives. Monumental destruction and loss of valuable properties are always left in the wake of gruesome violence. Left untamed, violent crimes soon metamorphose into behemoth insecurity.
And for sure, insecurity seems to be reigning supreme across the length and breadth of the country. It has manifested itself in the mold of insurgency, banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, and a host of others. However, strategic, well-planned and excellently executed military operations have always come to the rescue of both the nation and her citizenry. They have helped to arrest numerous carnage(s) orchestrated and perpetrated by ruthless criminal gangs and militia groups. Troops of the Armed Forces deployed for combat operations have fought, decimated and gallantly eliminated terrorists and other criminal elements. This is not only in the past, but also in our contemporary times.
Aside other notable factors, the effective management, coordination and dissemination of exclusive security information among relevant arms of the Armed Forces, greatly determine the success or otherwise of any military operation. It also has the potential to make or mar any military operation. This, perhaps, may be the central reason why the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja, wanted overhauling the way and manner information is not only coordinated among its security agencies, but also disseminated to the media and public.
With this in mind, the DHQ conceptualized and successfully midwifed the birth of the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO). The Directorate, for the records, will be coordinating joint information management on peacekeeping and other combat operations of the Armed Forces.
Tasked with the sole responsibility of disseminating information on the Armed Forces and other security agencies during special operations, DDMO will restrict its mandates to analyzing information on combat and peacekeeping, while strategically and tactically liaising with critical stakeholders.
It is heartwarming that a former Director, Defence Information (DDI), Major General John Enenche, has been appointed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, as Coordinator of the newly-established Directorate.
Enenche, a former Chairman of the Forum of Spokesperson of Security and Response Agencies (FOSSRA) and ex-Commandant of Army War College, will be assisted by Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, DDMO’s Acting Director.
The trio of Colonel Umar Aliyu, Commander Abdulsalam Sani and Squadron Leader A. E. Obidake are the Liaison Officers for the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force, respectively.
Among other things, the Directorate will periodically provide updates on the activities and joint military and security operations such as Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East; Operation Hadarin Daji in parts of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger States; Operation Whirl Stroke in parts of Benue and Nasarawa States; and Operation Thunder Stroke on Abuja-Kaduna Highway/Railway.
The rest are Operation Awase in parts of Lagos and Ogun States; Operation Safe Haven in Plateau and Kaduna States, Operation Delta Safe in oil producing States, and Operation Safe Corridor for the deradicalization and integration of surrendered Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.
Where necessary, DDMO will also analyze and coordinate information on peacekeeping mission of Nigerian troops abroad, especially in Mali, Gambia and Guinea Bissau.
Immediately after the setting up of DDMO, Maj. Gen. Enenche, it was learnt, convened a strategic meeting with relevant stakeholders including FOSSRA. This is in a bid to establish robust synergy and mutual understanding between the Directorate and other allied organisations, together with key stakeholders in the nation’s security sector.
Speaking at the maiden press briefing of DDMO, held at the DHQ Conference Room last week, Enenche, expressed firm belief that the establishment of their Media Directorate will ensure that the Armed Forces communicate its operational activities through one channel to the general public.
He stated that DDMO is poised to providing authentic, credible and reliable information on all issues bothering on military operations both locally and internationally, adding: “The Directorate of Defence Media Operations is to disseminate information on multi-agency operations of which the Nigerian military is the lead agency. In clear terms, DDMO is responsible for press briefings, releases and other press activities on all military and Armed Forces of Nigeria led multi-agency operations, for internal and international engagements.”
In his remarks, Brig. Gen. Onyeuko, said the outfit is created out of the need to interface with the media and general public on all military operations in order to create a balanced understanding of their objectives.
His words: “DDMO is established to coordinate, collate and disseminate information from the theatres of all Armed Forces of Nigeria-led operations. In consonance with the CDS vision, we will continue to be responsive to national security commitments, by ensuring timely and credible dissemination of information on our operations. This, we will do through conducts of regular press briefings and releases.”
At a time when fake news still thrive on social media platforms, a routine, accurate and timely updates on military operations will surely help the noble cause of DDMO. It is imperative for DDMO to sustain the dishing-out of actual and clear information on the daily activities of troops deployed for military operations in North East and other States, even as it behooves on them to also shun the temptation of being economical with the figure of casualties recorded and losses suffered by troops.
If Gen. Enenche, Brig. Onyeuko, and the Liaison Officers would sustain the tempo they have hit the ground running, then actualizing the cardinal objectives of DDMO will be a conclusion long foregone.
Mahmud is a PRNigeria Staff Writer and Defence Correspondent with Emergency Digest. He wrote in from Abuja, and can be reached at: [email protected], or 08067492272.