by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has restated that the potential of media as aforce for multiplier and weapon of war and national unity must be realized.
NUJ President, Chief Chris Isiguzo, who made striking observation on today, said failure to recognize its potential would be counterproductive as enemy’s usage of the media could lead to unprecedented military and national failures.
The NUJ president, in a welcome address at the official ceremony of the ongoing 3rd National Delegate Conference of the Union holding at the International Conference Centre, Rivers State, also noted the threat to country’s national unity.
He said, “The potential of media as a force multiplier and weapon of war must be realized. Failure to recognize and counter enemy’s usage of media could lead to unprecedented military and national failures…”
“Today, the NUJ is hosting this national conference on ‘The Media, Insecurity and National Unity’ against the background of the threats we have mentioned earlier, in order to achieve a national consensus that will help facilitate Nigeria’s response to the growing problem of insecurity.
“We are convinced that the defeat of terrorism, banditry and other criminal activities, while attempting to achieve democratic stability, requires the concentration of minds, especially the invaluable role of the Media…”
Earlier, the NUJ president said, “We have carefully watched as national politics has degenerated to the extent that it is threatening national unity and the peaceful coexistence of the country. The situation is being compounded by frightening insecurity across the different geopolitical divides.”
According to him, the primary responsibility of government is to protect life and property of its citizens, adding that, “It appears that government is overwhelmed and unable to perform this responsibility creditably well. Certainly, it will be disastrous to allow citizens to lose confidence in the ability of government to deal with the situation decisively.
“In the past 25 years, or thereabouts, the architecture of the global system had witnessed tremendous transformation, caused primarily by the collapse of the bipolar World Order, which had hitherto pitched the West against the East. This development led to the emergence of other threats around the world.
“These trans-border crimes include but not limited to human trafficking, drug trafficking, environmental and refugee problems and the related racketeering by criminal gangs and freelance elements, kidnappings and banditry.
“If Nigerians had initially thought that they were outside of the vicious grip of some of these threats, then the Boko Haram conundrum and other festering crimes have changed this mindset. The NUJ realizes that, Nigeria is part of the World Order and Nigerians must rise to the challenge, which the insecurity poses to our national integrity,” he said.
He also maintained that, “It is instructive to note that the very same policies that work to bring about open, democratic, pluralist societies and open markets also make trans-sovereign threats possible. These new factors that transcend boundaries and threaten national stability present a very difficult dilemma for policy makers.
“The Union believes that in going forward, we have to operate against the background of the opportunities and problems associated with the information age; and we hope that this conference will provide the veritable platform to achieve this national agenda for Nigeria. The advent of the internet poses another dimension to this problem, as terrorists also exploit it for their maximum benefits.
“The theme of this conference, ‘The Media, Insecurity and National Unity,’ is timely because of the pivotal role of the media as an effective tool for addressing Issues of National Unity and Insecurity. While we concede the fact that, the fight against terrorism and banditry are extremely difficult, we believe that the media can contribute immensely in this regard.
“According to Prince Tony Momoh, in his publication: ‘The Role of the Media in National Security &Crime Management,’ he quoted Prof Oshiote Andrew Okwilagwe as having stated that, “Communication is central to the start, growth, maintenance, decline and eventual death of nation states.
“This is because communication process and its elements are responsible for the dissemination and sharing of information among the composite population of a nation state…,” he added.
The NUJ president continues that, “Similarly, Prof Oshiote notes that, “The Nigeria Media Structure is strong and powerful. It is the most influential tool and instrumental in persuasion of national policies and interests. It has become evident that government desperately needs enhanced support in projecting its national security objectives through careful analysis and efficient and effective dissemination (of) information to various audiences.”