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How to counter terrorism through social media – Expert

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Nigerian military has been urged to use the advancement in technology and the influence of internet-based resources to counter terrorism.

Speaking as a Guest Lecturer at the Air War College (AWC) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, Mr. Yushau Shuaib, the brain behind the 2016 Global Award winner in Crisis Communication pointed out that the battle ground has shifted from physical combat to cyberspace where social media is the tool of engagement.

The expert in social media and publisher of PRNigeria, delivered a paper to senior military officers on ‘Managing the influence of Social Media on Military Operations.’

He said, “The military needs to train and equip social media warriors whose responsibility is to engage the audience with truthful, factual and convincing arguments of operations towards the well-being and better informed public.”

“The enemies are hidden in their cocoon using the social media in recruiting volunteers, mobilizing resources and attacking public consciousness, mostly through threats of violence and terrorism”.

“The military as an institution that can effectively counter terrorism should realise that conventional weapons have their limitations in psychological warfare.

“They should therefore explore the benefit of Social Media which is cost effective for engaging large audience; providing adequate Information; responding timely to enquiries; sharing educative media data and coordinating activities with different groups”.

Shuaib added that the future of social media is already here.

“Officers responsible for information management and communication should realise that an office is no more confined to a physical wall: we are in an age of mobile office, working 24/7, streaming live video in real time to the satisfaction of our audiences.

“In the next few years wearable gadgets will become the major tools while stiffer competition between the Media Houses and in-house PR team will become prevalent as each party competes for large followership on the social media.”

He recalled that former military spokesperson, General Chris Olukolade, demonstrated how Twitter could be effectively deployed for regular news updates and lauded the current Army spokesperson, Brigadier General Sani Usman Kukasheka for directly engaging his Facebook audience with images and stories from theatre of military operation.

Shuaib commended the current Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar for embracing the social media by engaging his audience regularly with latest reports on the activities of the NAF and its commitment to corporate social responsibility.

In his remarks; Commandant of the Nigeria Airforce (NAF) Air War College, Air Vice Marshall J.K Baba said the establishment of the college was in tandem with the vision of Air Chief to reposition NAF into a highly professional and disciplined force through capacity building initiatives for efficient, effective and timely employment of air power in response to Nigeria’s security imperatives.

The Director of Academic Affairs of the college, Air Commodore Idi Lubo, speaking on behalf of the students of the AWC, commended the lecturer for his paper and the interactive nature of the presentation.

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