Knocks, kudos for Nigerian media as govs call for investigative journalism
By Uduma Kalu
It was knocks and kudos, yesterday, for the Nigerian media at the Guild of Editors’ conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, even as some speakers were of the view that editors should disclose their sources of information in view of security challenges facing the country.
The governors of Awa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Plateau, Borno and the speaker of the House of Representative, represented by Hon. Victor Ogene, gave knocks and kudos to the Nigeria media, just as the governors of the violence-prone states, such as Jonah Jang of Plateau, Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta, Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers and Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, narrated their experiences in the hands of the media men.
Akpabio said that the media was used to telling lies about his government, stating for example, that an online medium reported in USA about a kidnapping that had not taken place.
According to Akpabio, the same online medium reported that the state broadcasting service was bombed by alleged freedom fighters when it was dynamite that was stolen at a fishing area and used to destroy an old truck.
He further said that some people write fictitious letters to editors trying to shape their opinion in a bid to distract the government.
Akapbio said that a report in the media also said the kidnapping in Lagos was higher than that of Akwa Ibom and appealed to the editors to focus on the positive things in society instead of the negative stories.
For Jang, the media had been a one of his major headaches, as they report false stories about his government. He, like Akpabio, also asked the media not to publish false stories. He reported how efforts to curtail insecurity were given ethnic and religious colouration in his state; like the banning of commercial motorcycles, arrest and deportation of some Fulani criminals who were not from the state but came to cause havoc with weapons.
He said he had been fair to Muslims, citing the case of giving Muslims pilgrims the best treatment while in Mecca even when he was portrayed in bad light in or as not doing enough.
He then asked the media to investigate the case of some criminals who were arrested with weapons on their way to Okene but later bailed, especially now that the former Chairman of Okene Local Government Area had confessed to being in the know about the incident.
Uduaghan, on his part, narrated how peace was restored in Warri but called for balanced and investigative reporting to create national peace and security, just as his River State counterpart, Amaechi, spoke about the media coverage of the on-going crises over the film produced on Prophet Mohammed by an American, Sam Bacile, which he said could cause problems in the country.
He then urged the editors to guide and protect the nation.