The Nigerian government has appealed to the media to consider the country first before any other consideration in their dealings.
The country’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the appealed-on Thursday in Abuja during the ceremony of re-naming the corporate headquarters of News Agency of Nigeria after late Journalism icon and former Managing Director and Chairman of the agency’s Board, Mr. Wada Maida.
The Minister said for every individual, business or community to survive and thrive, the nation must first exist, in peace.
He also warned that if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody would go down as well. It was against that backdrop that he passionately advised that responsible journalism practice must be the watch word in the interest of all.
“It may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist, in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace. In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first.
If one picks up most newspapers, watches most television stations or listens to most radio stations in Nigeria today, he or she will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war. Yes, we have challenges, especially in the area of security. But this Administration has not only acknowledged these challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South.
Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic,” he explained
Alhaji Mohammed said whatever image problem Nigeria was suffering from is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organizations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologize. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting.
The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers,” he added.
In his remarks, the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari stated that the late Media Icon, Wada Maida was a champion of developmental ideas, from his journalism calling to community development among others.
“Maida had a glorious sojourn and is greatly missed by all…From friends, professional colleagues, family, community and everyone…”
Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Buki Ponle said the late Maida stuck to and died for the development of responsible journalism in Nigeria.
He commended the late Wada for an iconic and visionary leadership which eventually made the story of NAN complete.
News Agency of Nigeria was established by the Nigerian Government 43 years ago with the mandate of a wire service, national and international news dissemination among others.
Late Mallam Wada Maida served NAN as a political editor, international correspondent, editor in chief, Managing Director and Chairman Board of Directors until his demise.