The just concluded 3rd Nigeria Union of Journalists media conference has ended in Portharcourt the Rivers state capital with a call on citizens to assist in community mobilization to address insecurity in the country.
With the theme, ‘’The Media, Insecurity and National Unity”, which took place from June 6 to 8, 2021, adopted some resolutions as a panacea to the myriad of security, political and ethno religious crises facing the country.
Against the backdrop of prevailing situations that Government is overwhelmed and unable to effectively carry out it onerous responsibility, the conference notes that it will be disastrous to allow citizens to lose confidence in the ability of Government to deal with the situation.
In a communique signed by Amos Dunia and the National Secretary. Alhaji Shuaibu Leman, the conference also did a retrospect on the role of journalists with regard to their core mandate of informing, educating and holding government and leaders accountable; noting that the media has played an active role in their propagation and proliferation by promoting their different names and titles and serving as a vehicle for their messages.
The communique also notes that more is required of practitioners as watch dogs of the society particularly, at this trying period in which a balanced reportage is more than ever before desired.
“The Nigeria Union of Journalists takes note of the responsibility of the State to guarantee safety of lives and property, to protect the economy and economic resources areas, critical infrastructure, environment, including forest reserves and national assets”.
The communique said Government should in the course of enforcing security policies, carry stakeholders at all levels of governance along and ensure good governance.
It urge the Media to mediate with its distinct role of being between the governed and the rulers, particularly in situation of existential threats and advised its members to prioritise mediation in the prevailing tension that pervades all geo-political zones and the threats to Nigeria’s unity.
The Conference urges media practitioners to exercise caution in their reportage and analysis of unfolding events as well as play the role of a mediator between contending forces and actors and be a partner in deescalating tension instead of being a party to the conflict.
As for the controversy generated by the suspension of the micro blogging platform – Twitter, the Union notes the wide spread use of its resourcefulness in promoting dialogue, individual expression and commerce and therefore, solicits for caution on all sides.
The communique states that in view of the challenges impacting on press freedom, freedom of expression, the Union will establish a Special Press Freedom Monitoring and Defence Committee.
The Conference as part of innovation being injected into the NUJ, an ‘NUJ HALL OF FAME’ was launched. “It is in view of this that the Conference resolves that the HALL OF FAME shall be instituted to accord due recognition to deserving public office holders, technocrats, journalists and other deserving members of the society, who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields”.
“In this wise, His Excellency, the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, became the first inductee of the HALL OF FAME”.
The Conference stresses the need for the adherence to the rights of the people to freely express themselves and comment on the affairs of state and conduct of government as an intrinsic part of democracy that demands accountability of rulers and public officers to the citizenry.
It said Nigeria is a country that fought a civil war and that those who were active players in the war, from children that were born after the war to those who experienced the war, have not gotten a closure.
Stakeholders call on the NUJ to lead the national voice for healing the actors of the Nigerian Civil War still alive, to engage and dialogue on issues that bind them as well as commit to ensuring that past events are put behind them and all find closure.
Conference also notes that #EndSARS was just a ventilation of bottled-up anger, dissatisfaction and discontent with the elites; noting that more than 60 years after independence, Nigeria is still battling with ‘State of Origin’ in our National Data Collection System taking into cognisance that ethnicity and tribe played a negative role in the cause of the RWANDAN war.
Participants commend Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for hosting the Conference and thank the people of the State for the warm reception.