Editors’ conference says insecurity posting negative development indices
• Seeks collaboration between media, security agencies on fighting the menace
• Urges govt to support the survival of media in building democracy
The 17th All Nigerian Editors’ Conference has called for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and security agencies in the fight against insecurity across the country, saying the problem of insecurity is taking a huge toll on societal life and posting negative development indices in several areas.
The conference also said peace and development cannot thrive in times of crises, stressing that government at all levels has a huge responsibility to defend, protect and provide for citizens.
These were some of the resolutions reached at the end of the conference put together by the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), held Thursday, October 21 to Friday, October 22, 2021, in Abuja.
The theme was: ‘Media In Times of Crises: Resolving Conflict, Achieving Consensus’.
In a communique signed by NGE President Mustapha Isah and General Secretary Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the conference attended by 350 editors, security chiefs, and other stakeholders, noted 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. The insecurity crises stem from leadership failure that has bedeviled the country for many years,” the communique said.
It said: “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 flashpoint, appear locked in mutual suspicion.”
Noting that journalists are often impaired and harassed by security agents from carrying out their professional responsibilities, the conference said peace and development, which are germane to further advancement of Nigeria, cannot thrive in times of crises
The conference resolved: “Governments at all levels have a responsibility to defend, protect and provide for their 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; and the need for healthy and harmonious collaboration between the media and 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 they are conflict-sensitive and not publish stories capable of inflaming ethnic, regional and religious passion. It called for an urgent need to tackle the monster of misinformation and sanitise the media against unprofessional and unethical behaviour.
The conference also called on the 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.
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, Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Malam Kabiru Yusuf, as Guest of Honour.
Other guests included Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello; his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai (represented by the Special Adviser on Inter-Governmental Affairs, Hajia Hannatu Dalhat); and Osun State Governor, Gboyega Oyetola (represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Prince Abdullah Adeyanju Binuyo)
Also in attendance were: Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba (represented by Commissioner Frank Mba, Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO); Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi (represented by DSS spokesperson, 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.
A 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 off with a 60th Anniversary Dinner, which featured the induction of eight new Fellows and 13 new Members.