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Social Media practitioners storm Osogbo, the State of Osun capital today, 10 August 2020 for THE NIGERIAN ARMY SOCIAL MEDIA SEMINAR ON THE EVOLVING ROLE OF THE SOCIAL MEDIA IN SUPPORT OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY’S NON KINETIC LINE OF OPERATIONS. Social media users and practitioners were full of praise for the Chief of Army Staff’s giant strides at curbing fake news about the Nigerian Army and its operations. At the occasion the Chief of Army Staff was ably represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Army Headquarters, Abuja, Lieutenant General Lamidi Oyebayo Adeosun. The Chief of Civil Military Affiars, Army Headquarters, Maj Gen HI Bature led the Civil Military Affiars personnel and consultants to the 10th Edition Social Media Influencers Seminar on Civil Military Relations: The Evolving Role of the Social Media in Support of the Nigerian Army’s Non- kinetic Line of Operations. And, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola was the Special Guest of Honour. And, a friend of the Nigerian Army, His Royal Majesty, Aafin Olowu of Kuta, Oba Hammed Adekunle, Makama Oyelude Tegbosun III was a special guest, adding colour and knowledge to the seminar.

The forum provided opportunity for social media practitioners/users and personnel of the Nigerian Army to interact and brainstorm on the evolving role of the Social media in support of the Nigerian Army’s non kinetic line of operations.

The development of any society to a large extent depends on the degree of the security of lives and properties of its citizens. A secured atmosphere will encourage intellectual minds who will be a great asset to Nation building; it will also guarantee an environment for the growth of infrastructural development. Information and communication will play a critical role in strengthening Nigeria’s National security against potential future attacks.

Social Media have become popular and veritable for communication at both individual and group levels, share information more readily, develop response capabilities and promotes engagement and collaboration. Although Nigerian Army has taken giant strides in the last four years to settle insecurity issues through combat approach, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai identify the vital role of social media in deepening Nigerian Army civil military cooperation posture, bridging gap between the institution and the civil populace and curbing the menace of fake news syndrome. The Nigerian Army under the present leadership of Lt Gen TY Burutai, has showed high level of commitment, dedication, preparedness and above all resolve to rout out the menace of fake news in order to strengthen the nation’s national security in the media platform. Current and potential adversaries constantly look for areas or posts to discredit national armed forces.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has therefore taken measures necessary to prevent such adversaries from obtaining information of operational security value by training and retraining of personnel on the use of social media, development of response capacity, engagement, information sharing and collaboration. The creation of strategic narratives is very core to the military online social media platforms users. The battle of narratives is a bedrock in winning the fight against insurgents. Social Media is a powerful tool to fight this battle. It is a force multiplier and an enabler to engage in ways unseen before. Propaganda”psy-ops” shape opinions and influence outcomes. Social Media has enormous role to play in enhancing military operations. Social networking, blog, wiki, podcast, forum, content community and micro- blogging are all social media.

According to the Chief of Army Staff the role of social media in military operations is enormous and therefore can not be undermined. Social Media improves reach frequency performance and immediacy. It allows interactive communication and offers opportunity to transfer content (vocal, visual or written) to anyone on the planet. Social Media amplifiers ideas, creates meaning and could generate conflicts. Social Media is the current vector of choice. Advanced machine intelligence and learning will make these issues even more salient in the future.

Social networking is information warfare and has become an important part of modern military operations. Organisation, mobilisation, dissemination and intelligence are at their best under social media platforms and network. Social Media provides multiple, redundant channels for conveying instructions and orders between different groups in different areas. It can be use as a powerful tool for recruiting and mobilising people. Some terrorists use the platform to attract new recruits. By extension, Social media could be use to conduct misinformation or “shock and awe” campaigns aimed at deterring morale, changing the direction or outcome of a war or triggering a response that will provide a strategic advantage. It follows that the digital transformation of the battlefield requires a much greater awareness of the importance of narratives in shaping perceptions of success and failure. Narratives can be manipulated, countered, magnified or downplayed, by a dedicated use of social media strategy. It only requires the capabilities of a few well programmed chatbots.

At the occasion, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai was ably represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Army Headquarters, Abuja, Lieutenant General Lamidi Oyebayo Adeosun. His Excellency, the Executive Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adeboyega Oyetola in his remark stressed that “With this seminar, the Nigerian Army has proved beyond a doubt that it recognises the need for a holistic method to restore peace and security to the nation. The non-conventional and militia nature of the nation’s raging insecurity makes collaboration between the military and the civilian expedient, especially in a world heavily driven by technology”. The occasion was attended by senior military officers, both serving and retired.

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