The Defence Headquarters has offered an explanation about their resolve to check the social media activities of Nigerians to eliminate security threats.
Director Defence Information, Major General John Enenche
The Director Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, has defended the military’s decision to carry out social media surveillance, saying it is necessary for the military to get vital information that will aid its activities.
Enenche spoke about the controversial surveillance during an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily on Wednesday morning, a weeks after he told Channels Television that the military is monitoring the activities of Nigerians on the social media, sparking outrage.
When asked on Sunrise Daily if it is part of the military’s role to carry out such a surveillance, Enenche said the objective is not to curtail freedom of expression but to aid the military with planning.
Despite the outrage the military has no plans of stopping the surveillance.
“We are monitoring the social media to sieve out information to help us in our planning. In the military we cannot arrest anybody for that, we cannot. Surveillance is observing, getting information. That is what we are doing so that we can be proactive. So that we can get information,” Enenche said.
“We are monitoring the social media to help sieve out information, the one that will be anti-government, anti-military, anti-government. Surveillance is part of our job and we will keep doing it.”
He added that the social media is a platform where people can communicate freely and the military is only using the platform to gather useful information.
“The Social Media is a platform where people communicate with themselves, a platform where anybody can join and you can get information. Surveillance is observing, that is what we are doing so that we can be active.”
Enenche during the interview also said the military is still observing Boko Haram insurgents closely despite claims that they are tired of fighting the Federal Government.
“We are following up because it is not unexpected. The actions we had put in place in the past. The reinforcement and the reinvigoration of our actions. We started with clearance operations which is supposed to dovetail into dominating the whole area and now we have seen the results,” he said.
“We cut off the lines of supply and communication and then there is pressure on them. Their helping center and activity in Sambisa forest has been knocked off.’’
On what the military is planning to do with the information it is getting, he said, “The information we are getting, we are yet to convert it into intelligence. We are not taking it at surface level because sometimes it might even be a decoy to divert our attention.
“So, professionally we are handling it to ensure that what they are telling us is true intelligence and that is the situation of things. But, I will tell you that It is 60% closer to the truth that they are fatigued and they are giving up.