The Nigerian Army on Monday launched situation monitoring room to ensure real-time observation of events during the general elections.
Speaking at the inauguration of the room at the Army headquarters Abuja, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the army had launched the situation room and Operation Safe Conduct, to enable a proactive and responsive posture that would allow for better response to early signs of insecurity before they could escalate into a major security challenge.
He said with the situation room in place, the Nigerian Army would be able to respond to security situations between three and five minutes.
Buratai said the post election violence which characterised previous elections, clearly highlights the challenges posed by incidents of electoral violence in the country, hence “the need to devise new strategies of stemming such ugly tides or completely eliminating same.”
He said: “Lessons learnt from previous election violence witnessed have categorised the nature or types of violence into three broad categories namely: pre-election violence, violence during elections and post-election violence,” he said.
“Violence at the various phases of elections include thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes and papers or kidnapping…“Having observed this cycle of violence reoccur severally in our past electioneering processes, the Nigerian Army has thus deemed it necessary to adopt a proactive and responsive posture that would allow us to better respond to early signs of insecurity before they could escalate into a major security challenge.”
Buratai noted that fake news and fake propaganda was dangerous to both military operations and democratic process, adding that this had informed various collaborations between the Nigerian Army and various stakeholders.
“The rapid spread of fake news has been responsible for misinformation, thereby having an influence on public sentiment and sow confusion among the electorate or even easily ignite violence during the period of the 2019 General Elections,” he stated.
Recently, the Central Working Committee of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) during its visit to the Army Headquarters promised to partner with the Nigerian Army to tackle issues of fake news.
He said the Nigerian Army, through the Cyber Warfare Command, had been continually engaged in monitoring, identifying and countering various forms of fake news and propaganda being put out by terrorists and subversive elements.
He urged the public to forward credible information of security importance via SMS, MMS or WhatsApp to 193 or visit https://army.mil.ng and drop their messages.
Also speaking, the Acting Commander Cyber Warfare Command, Brig. Gen. Thomas Unokhua, said the setting up of the situation room for round-the-clock monitoring of electoral processes would ensure that “the Nigerian Army formations that would participate in ensuring conducive environment for the elections were kept updated with development in their various areas of responsibilities as it pertains to issues of security.”