Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, has said that the promotion of patriotism and nationalism is a strategic approach to curb violent crimes such as banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism in the country.
Rabiu Ibrahim, the Special Assistant to the Minister, said Idris stated this in Abuja on Friday when he received the Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa on a courtesy visit to his office.
The minister said the surest way to counter the wave of crime is to instill a sense of patriotism among citizens and foster a strong national identity as a united front against violent crimes.
“The concept of nationalism, nationhood, and patriotism must return, for us to have the unity and prosperity that all of us seek. We have seen a gradual erosion of our values – those values need to be reclaimed and we have to recover our senses as Nigerians.
“We need to go back to the drawing board and see where we got it wrong with the aim of getting it right this time around.
“I thank you so much for coming. We think that the collaboration that you require is for all of us to come together so that we fight insurgency and forge unity, development, and peace in this country. There is no way you can successfully fight this war without a frontal role for the Nigerian Media and Nigerians themselves,” he said.
Idris said violent crimes have adversely impacted the image of Nigeria hence the ministry bears the responsibility to manage and reshape the narrative about the country.
The minister, who stressed that information management is critical to the fight against insurgency, said collaboration between the Ministry and the Military is crucial to forge a narrative that strengthens national security and launder the country’s image.
Idris said the ministry would soon launch a campaign of national rebirth as a deliberate effort to instill a renewed sense of patriotism among the citizens.
“Some of those things that we are talking about will take centre stage early next year when the President, hopefully, will lead the campaign of national rebirth. We want to talk about this concept of citizenship again,” he said.
The minister also requested the military to reintroduce the programme of embedding journalists in military operations to provide firsthand insight into the theatre of operations thereby fostering a more informed and balanced narrative.
Earlier, the CDS, General Musa, said the visit to the minister is part of their non-kinetic operations to build synergy between the military and the media because the challenges of asymmetric warfare being waged by the military, are people-centric where both the military and the criminals are fighting for the hearts and minds of Nigerians.
“This is part of the lines of operations that we are conducting to build synergy between the Armed Forces and members of the public and there is nowhere to start better than where information emanates from,” he said.
He called for the support of the public in the war against insurgency, terrorism, and banditry, stressing that the war is a collective endeavor of all Nigerians to defeat criminal elements challenging the sovereignty of the country.
Musa said strategic communication is a key component in the war against terror as most of the terrorists were brainwashed to take up arms against their country.
He said through strategic communication and advocacy, the military was able to influence some of the terrorists to lay down their arms and surrender to the authorities. He noted that so far about 140,000 terrorists have voluntarily surrendered to the military.
He acknowledged that violent crimes have now moved beyond the realm of ideology to economic motivation, where criminals make huge sums of money through kidnappings, and banditry, among other crimes.
Heads of public information organs who accompanied the minister to receive the Defence Chief were the Directors General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTÀ), Malam Abdulhamid Dembos; the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Dr. Mohammed Bulama; the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Malam Jibrin Ndace; the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Lanre Issa-Onilu; the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mr. Charles Ebuebu, and the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council, Mr. Dili Ezughah.