Baru tasks NUJ on fake news

By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor

#TrackNigeria: The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), . Maikanti Baru, has charged the executive of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to curb purveyors of fake news, saying such news items had impacted negatively on many organisations’ corporate reputation.

The NNPC GMD, who was represented by corporation’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Corporate Services, Mr. Isah Inuwa, disclosed this at the 2019 Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Freedom Awards Night and Dinner where he was honoured with Distinguished Friend of the Media Award at the event which held Monday in Abuja.

He expressed deep worry over unprofessional practice by some journalists in the media industry, stressing that such acts were responsible for the downfall of some credible and notable establishments in the society.

“Many corporate organizations have had reputation dragged into the mud due to lack of professionalism in some sections of the media, a development which calls for urgent attention” he said.

The NNPC GMD, who spoke on behalf of other awardees challenged the NUJ as a professional body to urgently set up measures to curb the excesses in the social media platforms, noting that such ugly trend, if not checked, would in the run affect the credibility and integrity of the union.  

. Baru thanked the leadership of the NUJ for finding him and other awardees worthy of the honour, stressing that openness to the media was considered at the NNPC as a critical factor towards building robust and cordial relations with the corporation’s various stakeholders.

The NNPC Helmsman seized the opportunity of the event to restate the position of NNPC on the reports trending in the social media that NNPC plans to move its gas marketing subsidiary, the Nigerian Gas Marketing Company (NGMC), from Warri to Abuja.

Dismissing the relocation story as untrue, . Baru, said that the purportedN120million and N29million being peddled in the social media as costs of yearly rent and relocation were fake reports that did not have any basis in reality.  

He said NNPC had its fair share of what he described as “Yellow Journalism” as evident in the fabricated gas company relocation story which was capable of inciting the public, particularly, NGMC’s host communities, against the corporation.

Speaking earlier, the President of the NUJ, Mr. Chris Isiguzo, stated that Press Freedom Award was an initiative of the union designed to promote some of its key objectives. 

“The NUJ Press Freedom Award is a high-profile event organized to motivate journalists, promote press freedom and freedom of expression, stimulate good governance and democracy in Nigeria through recognizing courageous journalists and honouring friends of the media who have distinguished themselves through supporting and sustaining press freedom in Nigeria”, the NUJ President said.

Some of the awardees included: Director General, Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Agency, Engr. Chidi Izuwah; Executive Secretary/CEO, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Ms. Yewande Sadiku; and Executive Director, National Film and Censorship , Alh. Adedayo Thomas.