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Brig. Gen. Usman Kukasheka Usman (rtd) Addresses Challenges of Fake News and Social Media in Conflict Management

In a recent lecture at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College in Kaduna State, retired Brigadier General Usman Kukasheka Usman shed light on the significant challenges posed by fake news and unverified information, especially on social media platforms, to the effective management of conflicts and Internal Security Operations (ISOs) in Nigeria. His remarks underscored the critical role of journalists in shaping public perception and the potential risks of compromising military strategies through misinformation.

This was the argument of Brig. Gen. Usman Kukasheka Usman (rtd), who spoke at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Nigeria, in Kaduna State. Presenting a paper titled, “The Impact of Social Media and Media Institutions on Internal Security Operations in Nigeria,” before the participants of “Exercise Haske Biyu 2024”, Gen. Kukasheka Usman, a former spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, said the impact or influence of journalist-military cooperation in modern-day conflict is fundamental to the success or failure of ISOs.

**Addressing Challenges:**
Brig. Gen. Usman emphasized the urgent need for sustained training programs targeting defense correspondents. These programs, he suggested, should focus on fostering conflict-sensitive reporting and enhancing mutual understanding between the media and the military. By providing journalists with insights into military operations, capabilities, and protocols, Brig. Gen. Usman believes that mutual suspicion can be mitigated, paving the way for improved cooperation in conflict resolution and management.

**Role of Social Media:**
While acknowledging the potential benefits of social media in enhancing security operations, Brig. Gen. Usman also highlighted its pitfalls. He pointed out instances of misuse by troops and security agents, which he said could exacerbate challenges in conflict management. The proliferation of misinformation, disinformation, and rumors on social media platforms, according to Brig. Gen. Usman, not only contributes to anxiety and stress among personnel and their families but also undermines operational security.

**Advocating Stricter Policies:**
Brig. Gen. Usman advocated for the stricter enforcement of social media policies and directives within the military ranks. He stressed the importance of effective monitoring, awareness campaigns, and appropriate sanctions for violators to mitigate the negative impacts of social media misuse on operational security and national safety.

In conclusion, Brig. Gen. Usman’s insights underscore the complex interplay between media, social media, and military operations in Nigeria. His call for collaborative efforts to address misinformation and promote responsible communication reflects the necessity of adapting to the evolving media landscape for effective conflict management. As Nigeria continues to grapple with internal security challenges, Brig. Gen. Usman’s recommendations serve as a timely reminder of the importance of fostering trust and transparency between the military and the media.

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