The recently appointed Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu has taken over command as the 23rd spokesperson for the Nigerian Army.
Security Watch Africa (SWA) reports that Nwachukwu, assumed command on June 16, in a colourful ceremony held at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.
Until his appointment, the new Army Spokesperson was the acting Director Defence Information (DDI) at the Defence Headquarters.
Speaking during the handing and taking over ceremony, Brigadier-General Nwachukwu thanked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major-General Faruk Yahaya, for finding him worthy to be appointed the Army Spokesman. He congratulated the outgoing Director, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima for a successful tour of duty.
General Nwachukwu noted that the era of Information Communication Technology (ICT) has made it easier for speedy dissemination of information to the general public stressing that it has brought about additional challenges to information managers.
He revealed that strengthening Military-Media relationship is his topmost priority, even as he extolled the media for supporting Nigerian Army Operations through balanced reportage. He further charged the media to remain committed in the discharge of their professional duties by adhering to the ethics of journalism.
He pledged to evolve measures and potent ways that could improve and strengthen the existing relationship between the Nigerian Army (NA) and the Media, with a view to consolidate on the gains already made in the ongoing war against insurgency, terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and insurrection amongst other sundry crimes in the country.
The new Spokesperson added that the NA under the leadership of Major-General Faruk Yahaya would continue to value the partnership and cooperation of the media and other institutions with mutual respect and cordiality.
Earlier in his valedictory speech, the immediate past Director, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima congratulated the Director on his appointment and wished him a successful tour of duty.
Yerima commended Officers, Soldiers and Civilian Staff of the Directorate for their loyalty, support and commitment. He further enjoined them to extend same to the new Army Spokesman. Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu.
SWA gathered that Nwachukwu was born on June 15, 1968 in Ibadan but however, hails from Ndokwa West Local Government Area of Delta State.
He is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan, holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs and Strategic Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Post Graduate School, Kaduna. He also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Advertising and Public Relations from the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja.
Also, he is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations. Since his commission into the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Nwachukwu has attended several military and professional courses, as well as seminars within and outside the shores of Nigeria.
These include; Deputy Spokesman/Media Operations Course at the Joint Information Activities Group, Royal Airforce, Halton United Kingdom and Special Operations Command Course at the Shijizhuang Military Academy, China.
He has equally attended Strategic Communication Course at the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information, Lagos and the Counter Terrorism Course, at the Infantry Corps Centre, Jaji, Kaduna State.
The new Army Spokesman has served in various Units and Commands within and outside the NA. He was Deputy Director Public Relations, Headquarters Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE and 8 Task Force Division, Assistant Director Defence Information (NA), at the DHQ, Chief of Staff Headquarters Directorate of Army Public Relations, and Public Relations Officer Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA). Additionally, he once served as the Media Coordinator, Joint Task Force Operation PULO SHIELD, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Nwachukwu also participated in the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) as Military Public Information Officer.
The handover ceremony was witnessed by Senior Officers and Staff of the Directorate of Army Public Relations, as well as the National President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, among several other dignitaries.
Highlights of the event were the signing of handing and taking over notes, presentation of the command flag and decoration of the new Director with insignia.