The Director of Defence Information, Rabe Abubakar, has said that more 700 repentant Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East have surrendered to the military.
Mr. Abubakar, a brigadier general, said this when he paid a courtesy call on the managing director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bayo Onanuga, in Abuja on Thursday.
According to him, a camp will be opened where the repentant insurgents will be kept “before the government decides on what to do with them”.
The defence spokesman said the media had a very important role to play in mitigating the crisis befalling the country.
He, therefore, called for cooperation between the media and the military in mobilising and informing the citizenry about the crisis.
“We have come to understand that the military cannot do it all alone.
“It must enter into collaborative efforts and synergy in certain operations with the media, which we believe will go a long way to not just project our activities or operations, but at the same time play a role which nobody can do apart from you.
“Mobilising the citizens, informing them about what is happening and equally sensitizing them.
“The media has a very important role in mitigating the crisis that is befalling our nation.
“We have many of the Boko Haram members, who surrendered as a result of our operations in Sambisa.
“We have over 700 now and very soon we will open the camp in the North-East where we will be keeping them before the government decides on what to do with them.’’
He said the Defence Headquarters looked forward to sustaining the cordial relationship between the military and NAN.
Responding, the Managing Director of NAN, Bayo Onanuga, told the director of defence information that the social media were following the activities of the military with keen interest.
He assured the director of the agency’s support in all activities of the military aimed at maintaining Nigeria’s unity and securing its territory.
Mr. Onanuga said the agency’s dissemination of authentic information about the military as an institution was a commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the country.
The managing director told Mr. Abubakar that because “we are owned by government, we have a responsibility to ensure that whatever we push out is the authentic information’’.
“I follow your press statements, I follow you on twitter, I follow you on Facebook, I go to the military website.
“I know you are also, on your own part, trying to push out as much information as possible for our consumption.
“Because we are owned by government, we have a responsibility to ensure that whatever we push out is the authentic information.
“We are also careful that we don’t push out something that can create crisis.
“Our bulletin is the first point of reference by anybody, who wants authentic information about Nigeria.
“And that is why we are very important.’’
Mr. Abubakar was accompanied on the visit by senior officers of the Directorate of Defence Information, Defence Headquarters.