An organization under the auspices of Social Welfare Network Initiative and Coalition Partners has pledged its total support to the Nigerian Armed Forces in the current push to stamp out terrorism in Nigeria while urging them (the military) to use the Organized Civil Society Platform which they represent to educate the populace on contentious national issues especially those that tend to denigrate them.
In his address at the Defence Headquarters during their solidarity/appreciation visit, the National Coordinator of the group, Mr Emmanuel Olisemeka Osemeka stressed that Social Welfare Network Initiative and Coalition Partners is a community systems-strengthening national network of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that is non-governmental, non-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-ethnic, with membership of 634 community based organizations, groups and stakeholders in the 36 states of Nigeria involved in the prevention, impact mitigation, care and support for health, nutrition and food security, internal security and social justice, energy, environment, gender and empowerment, democracy, good governance and human rights.
He mentioned that some of the Civil Society Organizations represented at the event were Social Welfare Network Initiative, Citizens Initiative for Responsible Leadership, Human Life International, Mandate Health Foundation, Lastborn Humanity & Empowerment Foundation and Change Agent and National Ambassadors, share the same passion and believe in the same cause.
Mr Osemeka added that as members of Civil Society Organizations working for human and community development, the group has made it a priority to defend and support the Nigerian Armed Forces for their courage, sacrifices, focus, dedication and gallantry in restoring peace and protection of the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, even in the midst of the contrived public and media provocations by both local and international media organizations. .
According to him, the organization has done this whenever the need arises through constantly advocating for public support for the Armed forces on Focus Nigeria (AIT), Sunrise Daily (Channels TV), Good Morning Nigeria (NTA), Social Media and many Radio stations across the federation. "We therefore believe it is our responsibility to speak out and educate the populace on contentious national issues especially those that tend to denigrate our Armed Forces.
We would advice that the Military speak less to the public directly but use the platform of the Organized Civil Society which we represent to speak to the public. Let the directorate of public affairs engage the public in the most extreme situations to reduce the level of damage control. The marriage between Civil-Military Relations should be fully utilized for mutual benefit to ensure reduction in the current widening gap between the Military and the civil populace". s
In his remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh appreciated the group for seeing the need to support the Nigerian military. He reiterated that a lot of well-meaning Nigerians have shown support, love and solidarity in various ways through donations, words of encouragement and solidarity walk/match but with all these, he attached great importance to the gesture of the group. He thanked them for standing up for Nigeria by joining in the fight against terrorism and urged them to use the privileged information they have to assist the military "I wish this is the understanding of the populace that we have one common enemy to fight.
When the military fights, it is the nation that fights. We try to justify our existence as Armed Forces. When you stand up for us, you are fighting. Please do the soft fight through writing of articles, use of social media and the likes because of their reach and follower ship, we are doing our own somehow but you can help us. Together we shall salvage this country".