Security agencies in the country have given assurances that they would maintain a balance between openness and national security. They have, however, called on the nation’s media owners and practitioners to walk the fine balance between openness on one hand and national security on the other.
According to a statement on Thursday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the security Chiefs made the declaration while speaking at an interactive meeting with owners and decision makers in the media at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Lawal Daura, the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, gave assurances that the security situation in the country was within the control of the government and that this can be helped where the media reduced sensation from their daily coverage.
In their own assessment, “our state of national security is not as bad as it is painted by the media.”
In seeking the support from the media towards the achievement of security for everyone, the heads of the agencies emphasized that sharing and coordination among security agencies and the media is essential to counter the ever-changing threats faced by the nation.
The Security chieftains expressed the particular worry that there are groups in the country with evil designs to disrupt the processes leading to the 2019 general elections in the hope of creating a stalemate.
They warned the media against the activities of some unregistered groups that have lately been active in trying to undermine critical institutions such the law-enforcement agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The security heads also called for closer cooperation from the media to prevent terrorists and radical ideologies directed from abroad from undermining the ongoing efforts to restore security in parts of the country facing the challenges of terrorism, economic sabotage, criminality, farmers-herdsmen clashes and the spread of illegal weapons.
In a special submission by the NIA, its Director-General recalled unsavoury developments of the last one year, which had put the agency in a negative limelight, but said that such developments were not peculiar to the Agency.