· Says media, security agencies need collaboration in fighting insecurity
· Calls on government to support survival of media in building democracy
The 17the All Nigerian Editors Conference has called for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and the security agencies in the fight against insecurity across the country as the problem of insecurity has taken a huge toll on societal life and posting negative development indices in several areas.
The conference also stated that governments at all levels have a huge responsibility to defend, protect and provide for their citizens to speed up peace and development in Nigeria.
These were some of the resolutions reached at the end of the conference put together by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), and held between Thursday, October 21 and Friday, October 22, 2021, in Abuja. The theme of the conference was “Media In Times of Crises: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus.”
In a communique signed by the NGE’s President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the conference attended by 350 editors, security chiefs, and other stakeholders, stated that the prevalent insecurity challenges, which have seen terrorists, bandits, armed herdsmen and other criminal elements holding the nation to ransom and threatening its survival and development, have the potential of tearing the country to shreds.
‘’The problem of insecurity confronting the country is taking a huge toll on societal life and posting negative development indices in several areas. That the insecurity crises stem from leadership failure that has bedevilled the country for many years’’, the communique stated.
‘’There are fears in some quarters that editors and media professionals seem to have taken sides in the raging crises. That journalists and security agents who are first line responders to every flash points appear locked in mutual suspicion.’’
Noting that that journalists are often times impaired and harassed by security agents from carrying out their professional responsibilities, the conference said that peace and development, which are germane to further advancement of Nigeria cannot thrive in times of crises
The conference resolved that; ‘’Governments at all levels have a responsibility to defend, protect and provide for its citizens. That agitations for self-determination, which are raging in the South-east, South-west and the South-south regions do not augur well for the unity of the country.
‘’The conference called for an end to raging insecurity so that citizens can conduct their normal lives in an atmosphere of peace and concord. That there’s need for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and the security agencies in the fight against insecurity.
‘’There is a need for security agents to appreciate the role of Journalists and media professionals and refrain from anything that will abridge it.’’
The conference also advised editors and other media professionals to ensure that they are conflict-sensitive and ensure they do not publish stories that are capable of inflaming ethnic, regional and religious passion. While calling for urgent need to tackle the monster of misinformation and sanitize the media against unprofessional and unethical behaviour.
The conference also called on government to support the survival of the media as part of the task of building the nation’s democracy and avoid any acts that will put the media in chains.
While calling on the federal government to confront issues that have given rise to the demands of the different self-determination groups, the conference advised it to endeavour to deal with the different sections of the country on the basis of fairness, equity and justice.
‘’There is need for government to ensure that its policies and actions are sensitive to the multi ethnic and religious makeup of the country.
‘’Government needs to commit more resources to education, healthcare and tackle the rising costs of food and other social services’’, the conference stated.
The conference was chaired by a veteran journalist, Ray Ekpu, with Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kolo Kyari, as Special Guest of Honour, and President, Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria (NPAN), Malam Kabiru Yusuf, as Guest of Honour.
The conference also featured other guests, including, Yahaya Bello, Governor of Kogi State; Nasir El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State (represented by the Special Adviser on Inter Governmental Affairs, Hajia Hannatu Dalhat); and Adegboyega Oyetola, Governor of State of Osun (Represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Prince Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo)
Other guests included Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Alkali Baba (represented by Commissioner of Police, Frank Mba, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO); Director General, Department of Security Service (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi (represented by its spokesperson, Dr Peter Afunanya), and Director General, Nigerian Intelligence Agency, (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar (represented by Mr Emma Engon Anzaku, Director, NIA).
The Managing Director/CEO, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System For Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), Mr Aliyu A. Abdulhameed, and the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta; Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher, Premium Times, and Azu Ishiekwene, Editor-in-Chief, Leadership Newspapers Group, were also parts of the conversation.
Other highlight of the conference was the unveiling of the book chronicling 60 years of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, titled, “Uneven Steps: The Story Of The Nigerian Guild of Editors” authored by Mr Lanre Idowu. The book was reviewed by James Akpandem James.
The two-day conference was rounded up with a 60th Anniversary Dinner, which featured the induction of eight new Fellows and 13 new members.