EDITORIAL: Army Public Relations Office IS Not Buratai’s Personal Property

S. K. Usman


Sagir Musa
Sagir Musa

With dismay it has been repeatedly observed that the Nigerian army office of Public Relations has lost track of its professional responsibilities in the interest of the nation and has become a personal trumpet and advertorial board for top members of the Nigerian army. The latest being the attempted public defense of the Army Chief accused of involvement in the looting of $ billions meant for the war against Boko Haram, as DHQ Director of Procurement.

This use of the army publicity office as a private defense agency for embattled superiors is an unprecedented low in the history of the Nigerian army. Such use of the army offices to defend the then embattled Army chiefs did not happen even under the Jonathan administration.

A recent press release by Colonel S.K. Usman in defense of Lt. general T.Y. Buratai is unprofessional and a subversion of the office. Whereas when the Army Chief is attacked it is his duty to use his private assistants to defend himself and the army is supposed to refrain from making public statements and statements of patronage, trolling the public media on his behalf.

As an example that can be gleaned, when then CIA chief, General Petraeus was accused of exposing national security secrets through a girlfriend, the United States CIA public relations department did not tarnish itself in his defense of person, but it was his private assistants that released any statements on his behalf.

It is frightening to see the diversion of Nigerian offices and officers to advertorial for their superiors and shoe cleaners.

SSS agent cleans Danbazzau's shoes
SSS agent cleans Danbazzau’s shoes

The statement written by the Army Publicity office is the longest statement written by the army on any national matter including more severe matters and massacres with loss of hundreds of Nigerian lives where the public begged the army for comment and the army refused comment, and empathizing with the people, routinely even denying the tragedies.

If allegations are levied against any individuals in the government it is the duty of the Army and Attorney’s office to conduct investigations into the allegations and not the job of the Army public relations office to release statements claiming the Army Chief is the only saint in Nigeria and a “good father, great lover and mentor to the world,” as was done by Colonel S.K. Usman.