The Nigerian Army remains apolitical – Brig. Gen. Olurotimi Awolo commends the media for effective reportage
The Commander, 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Camp Buratai, Elebele Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Brig. Gen. Olurotimi Awolo, says the Nigerian Army will remain apolitical and professional in protecting democracy and defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
Brigider General Olurotimi made this known when members of the United Correspondents Chapel (UCC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa state council, paid him a courtesy call in his office in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The commander of 16 brigade noted that the Nigerian Army has always strived to be apolitical in its activities, adding that the Nigerian Army is a thorough professional, disciplined, loyal and apolitical institution that has clear constitutional roles and responsibilities.
Individually, we are permitted to exercise our franchise through voting, but this should not be applied to our official duties.”
The Commander described the visit by members of the pen profession as apt, noting that it came at a time when media partnerships with security agencies have become more imperative given the security situation in the country.
He averred that the media plays a key role in the fight against oil theft, terrorism, kidnapping, sea piracy, and other antisocial vices through the sharing of useful information and reporting of criminal activities in their areas of operation.
“The media has helped us in projecting the 16 brigade activities, especially in pursuance of the vision of Lt Gen Farouk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, to have a professional Nigerian Army ready to accomplish its missions in a joint environment.”
He said apart from providing security to its citizenry, the brigade is also saddled with the responsibility of carrying out other social activities in Bayelsa State as a way of maintaining peace in the environment, stressing that those activities are used to show the people that apart from protecting them from social vices, it also cares for their well being.
We also engaged in civil activities such as the provision of books and instructional materials to schools, the conducting of free medical outreaches in various local government areas in Bayelsa State and the playing of novelty football matches, among others.
“We want to use these activities to show the people that, apart from protecting them from social vices, we also care for them in other ways,”
He emphasised that the Niger Delta, where oil and gas activities are done, is dear to the hearts of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said had been working hard to keep the economy afloat despite insecurities, and the Chief of Army Staff, whom he described as equal to the present security challenges in the country.
While thanking the media practitioners for identifying with the military, the 16 Brigade Commander used the opportunity to warn those in the act of economic sabotage to desist forthwith or face the grave consequences.
Earlier in his remarks, the chairman of the United Correspondents Chapel, Mr. Akam James, said he and his team were at Camp Tukur Buratai to cement a military-media working relationship.
While commending the Brigade for its efforts in the fight against illegal oil refining and other criminal activities in the oil-rich region, the UCC chairman promised collaboration with the security formation, calling for regular involvement of the media group in the coverage of the Brigade’s activities.
The high point of the courtesy call was the presentation of a souvenir to members of the United Correspondents’ Chape by Brig. Gen. Olurotimi Awolo.