The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged Nigerian media practitioners not to destroy the nation in their quest to be the first to break the news.
The minister said this while speaking as a special guest of honour at the Nigerian Army Media Conference organised in collaboration with the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, Guild of Corporate Online Publishers and Guild of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria.
The two days event started in Abuja on Thursday.
The minister equally appealed to the media not to extend their lack of support for a particular government to the nation’s military because such would compromise national unity.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Grace Isu Gekpe, Mohammed urged the media always take into account national security while competing to be the first for break the news.
The minister said, “Governments come and go but the security services remain to continue to take the risks so that you and I can live to pursue livelihood. If you don’t like the government of the day for whatever reason, you should not extend that hatred to the army or the security services in general.”
Mohammed said the media had the responsibility to safeguard the military and other security agents, who stake their lives to protect the lives and property of citizens.
He said “They (security agents) can’t even think of Christmas. Their thought is on whether they will see another day or even the next hour alive, we need to support them.’’
Mohammed expressed his reservation on the way the media has been reporting the ongoing counter-terrorism operation in the North-East.
He noted that it was sad that when the Nigerian Army recaptured Baga and other areas from Boko Haram terrorists “one or two” gave it prominence on their front pages.
Chief host of the event, who is also the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the military, especially the Nigerian Army, was conscious of its responsibilities.
He said what the military wanted from the media was fairness and responsibility in reporting.
Buratai said, “Not all information regarding military operations will be made available to you. This is because we are also gatekeepers in keeping secret vital military operations for national security.
“However, when such operations are conducted, relevant details will be made available to the media for public consumption.
“In this regard, I want to request the media to bear with us and exercise patience while we remain committed to carrying you along in the discharge of our various military operations.”