The Chief of Defence Staff Lucky Irabor on Tuesday said security chiefs sometimes become confused and clueless about how to react to the barrage of negative breaking publications around insecurity.
Mr Irabor, a general, said the Nigerian media should tone down its reporting around insecurity in order not to stoke fears amongst citizens and security agents across the country, saying positive news should be emphasised by media houses in order to attract foreign investments.
“There’s some sense of confusion that is also introduced such that it would appear that everyone is no longer focused and thinking right to be able to understand what needs to be done at a particular point in time,” Mr Irabor said as a gathering of security agencies and media professionals on Tuesday in Abuja. “It starts stoking fear amongst the people.”
While discussing financing safe schools across the country, the military chief said most narratives in Nigeria media are misleading, saying only positive reports could make people want to live in a peaceful and secured country.
“The narratives that you find within the media space is misleading. I will rather that the media begin to tone down the hype that they give to issues that have to do with insecurity.
“We desire to live in an environment where peace and security prevails,” he said.
He pointed out that the media must consider the nature of business in the country particularly because
“a failed nation is actually not also good for the business of the media,” he added.
Nigeria has been racked by acute insecurity in recent years, despite repeated assurance by the service chiefs that the situation would be brought under control. Violent extremists, armed bandits and killer herdsmen have been on a rampage across the country.
But President Muhammadu Buhari and his security appointees have consistently criticised the media for not amplifying rather than help cover up the crisis, a claim that media rights experts said was pointless since the role of the media was to report the truths as they concern citizens.
“Citizens have to make informed choices,” said retired journalist Femi Odukoya. “That can only be done when the media reports the truths rather than cover them up to assuage the powers that be.”