The Army Chief spoke in Abuja when pupils of several schools in Abuja interacted with him.
On how he copes with the pressure of office, the COAS said, “When I was appointed the Chief of Army Staff, I had the feeling that I will be the least controversial COAS. I had the feeling I will have an excellent relationship with the media.
“This first thing I did was to call the then Director of Army Public Relations and I told him that henceforth, all our actions and activities must be reported and made known to the media.
“They had a right to know. It is the Nigerian Army. There should be no gaps about information in our operations in the North East or elsewhere.
“Before then, we used to have so many reporters in the north east including informants for the terrorists who plant stories and breaking news some of which went contrary to happenings, with a ploy to make troops unstable or demoralized.
“So we started reporting events and occurrence about the battle, attacks in the northeast. We were breaking the news ourselves but this time, the real actions on the ground, not fabrications.
“We also commenced interaction with stakeholders for them to see and know the true happenings, which later opened their eyes to appreciate what we were going through and the heroic efforts of troops.
“We interacted with the NBA, Human Rights Groups, the Media, & others and they now understood our job better. “I also took personal steps to ensure troops fitness and agility particularly on the battlefield by issuing orders for officers and soldiers to trim down”.
“We also had pressures from International Organizations including Amnesty International who also found fault in anything we do.
“I believe they have a hidden agenda which is best known to them by reporting falsehood against Nigerian military But by and large we set up investigation teams and found out the allegations they made were fabricated.
“We ensured rules of engagement were adhered to in all our operations and those who flouted them were dealt with according to the rules.”.
Schools present at the interaction ceremony included the White Plain British Schools, Abuja, EFAB International School, Gifted Hunira Arcade, Command Children School Mogadishu, Command Day Secondary School, Lungi, and Command Secondary School Suleja.
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