The need for the establishment of the Army Public Relations came into force as early as 1962. One of the immediate reasons was to keep the operations with the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Congo abreast with happenings back home and also to inform Nigerians at home on performance of the Nigerian contingent in the operation area. It was tasked with the production of army news periodical magazines to perform the above role. DAPR was known initially as Army Public relations Department and was placed under the Administrative branch of the Army Headquarters. Its first Director was Maj A Giwa. Between 1972 -74, the unit was moved from ‘A’ branch supervision to stand independently under the command of Brigadier EF Sotomi with the name Military Public Relations Corps. In 1975, the unit ceased to be known as a Corps but Department and was placed under ‘G’ branch at Army Headquarters. Other senior officers that commanded the Directorate include: Brig Gen FB Chijuka, Brig Gen FE Chukwuma, and Brig Gen CO Onwuamaegbu.
At present, the Army Public Relations has been upgraded to the level of quasi autonomous Directorate headed by a Director under the Department of Army Policy and Plans at the Army Headquarters. The Directorate also has Public Relations Units headed by personnel of the Directorate at the Divisional and Brigade levels. The Directorate is organised to cope with the short and long – term management of the Army Public Relations with a view to building good corporate image for the Nigerian Army and sustaining cordial relationship between the Army and the public. Other functions include: coordinating Public Relations and information of the NA; interpreting and explaining NA roles, Policies, programmes, activities and accomplishments of the NA to the public; monitoring public opinions about NA and counseling the NA on the proactive ways of dealing with public opinions and means of shaping its policies and operations to gain public acceptance and support, especially now that we are in a democratic dispensation; monitoring local and international news in both the electronic and print media; organizing media coverage of NA activities and issuing of press releases/statements as rejoinders to counter negative reports on NA whenever occasion demands.
The Directorate now publishes a world-rated first class self-sponsored Army magazine – “New Soja”. The quarterly magazine has a world-wide distribution network to project the image of the Nigerian Army in and outside the country. The Director of Army Public Relations is the Editor-in-Chief of the ‘New Soja’. The present Director is Col MD Yusuf. After his education at the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, he went for his degree in Mass Communications at Bayero University Kano. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in 1981 and posted to the Directorate of Army Public Relations. He is a seasoned Public Relations professional, an adept mass communicator and professional film producer with Masters, first degree and post graduate diplomas in these areas from the University of Ibadan, Bayero University and School of TV/Film Productions London respectively.