President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday inaugurated the Armed Forces Radio, known as “Defence Radio 107.7 FM”, with a call on Nigerians to appreciate the commitment and sacrifices of the armed forces.
The president said that the society had not shown much support to security personnel, adding that the trend should stop.
According to him, the radio station will help to enhance the operations of the military.
“Other nations even bring foreign media to cover some of their operations and things are exaggerated as if they even work harder than we do.
“So, today that we are launching your radio station will be a turning point, where some of our operations will be properly covered and Nigerians will know.
“If Nigerians know what you are doing and what you are passing through, Nigerians will remain grateful.
“And I use this opportunity to call on all Nigerians, both our senior citizens and ordinary citizens to appreciate the commitment and the sacrifices of our armed forces.
“We wouldn’t have been sleeping if these people are not working.
“I always feel a bit worried and sometimes angry when I read in the papers negative comments about our armed forces and the police.
“Ours is a society that sometimes doesn’t appreciate the commitment of individuals, the suffering of individuals.
“These people fight and some of them pay the supreme price, leaving widows and young children as orphans.”
Jonathan said that instead of commending and encouraging members of the Armed Forces, Nigerians criticise them.
According to him, it is normal for the society to criticise, but it should show some level of respect for members of their security team.
Jonathan urged Nigerians to encourage the armed forces to do better.
He expressed gratitude to the military for establishing the radio station, saying it would enhance professionalism of officers and men.
“So today I am quite pleased that we are commissioning the radio station.
“I believe very sincerely, that with this radio station, especially when all the infrastructure is put in place, that the whole country will be covered.
“To help enhance the operations of the armed forces, to help to inform Nigerians about the activities of the armed forces and to make many more Nigerians to appreciate the activities of the armed forces.”
Jonathan said that the neglect of the military in terms of hardware acquisition and relevant training in the past had compounded the security infrastructure.
This, he said, also affected the precision of military response to challenges.
The president, however, said that recent purchases of military hardware and support to the armed forces had reasonably changed the tide.
“These have indeed reversed the trend allowing for effective governance, peace and security in areas hitherto held by terrorists and other misguided elements.”
Earler, the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, said that the station was created to create a balance in the reportage of military activities in the country.
“The motivation for the establishment of the armed forces radio station was borne out of the increasing importance of the role of the media in military operations as well as recent experiences of the Nigerian Military in the war against terrorists in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
“The media as the watchdog of the society plays a very important role in shaping public opinion for or against any activity of government and its agencies, including the conduct of military operations.
“When employed positively, the media acts as a force multiplier for ongoing military operations.
“Objective media coverage of military operations not only encourages public awareness and support for the military during operations, it has the added benefit of keeping the families and friends of service men abreast of activities of troops no matter where they are deployed.
“This is invaluable in maintaining the morale of troops.”
Badeh described as unfair and irresponsible some reportage of events in the North East.
According to him, terrorist acts are celebrated more than anything else which undermines the cohesiveness of the military.
He said that at a point, morale was so low that most troops lost the will to fight.
“Acts of cowardice by troops who fled from battle based on fabricated reasons were celebrated as virtue by certain media organisations.
“It got so bad that troops began to question why they would lay down their lives for a country and citizens that don’t appreciate their sacrifices.”
The CDS solicited for more support from members of the public and thanked those who assisted in the establishment of the radio station.
Badeh assured that their efforts would not be in vain.