The Benue State Government on Wednesday described the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) as one of the most reliable news organisations in the world.
The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Gov. Samuel Ortom, Mr Terver Akase, stated this during an interview with NAN on Wednesday in Makurdi.
Akase, therefore, urged the agency to work hard to ” sustain its quality and credibility”.
He said that the agency had over the decades, proven to be one of the most reliable news organisations not only in Nigeria and Africa but in the entire world.
“Let me start by commending NAN for the wonderful job that the agency has been doing over the decades.
“NAN has proven to be one of the reliable news organisations, not just in Nigeria, Africa, but across the world. You will find NAN correspondents in other African countries and the news come in real time.
“NAN is known for very deep investigative reports. It is known for making reports that keep both the government or private sector on their toes, that is development journalism and NAN has done this over the years and has done so reliably, so, this must be commended,”he said
The chief press secretary further said that the agency was one of the few standouts in the country in terms of wide reach and its rich in contents.
“Your organisation is one of the few standouts in terms of wide reach and rich contents. If you take ten newspapers in Nigeria you will find NAN stories in at least five and that is a big plus for you.
“So, you have to sustain this, when a product goes up to the zenith what is required by owners of that product is to sustain it there. So, NAN cannot afford to drop its quality and credibility. Keep doing what you are doing and the Benue State Government appreciates you, ” he said.
Commenting on child molestation in the state, especially in rural areas, the CPS said the trend was not peculiar to the state alone but a national concern.
“This is one challenge that is staring everyone in the face, be it federal, state or local government area,.
“Issues of molestation, kidnapping and banditry in general are everyones’ concern and must be taken seriously.
“Molestation is a monster that should bother all of us and not just government,” he said.
He said that the Ortom led administration had enacted a law against kidnapping and cultism and said it was part of the solution to the problem.
“This is an ongoing discussion because it is happening across the country not only in Benue. It is not a peculiar problem to Benue.
“I suspect that COVID-19 did not do us well. People stayed at home for long periods. This is my personal observation.
“People staying at home for long periods can cause a lot of problem because when people are idle they do all manner of things.
“They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So, children too were staying at home and the increasing cases could be as a result of that.
“But government is not resting on its oars. It is engaging stakeholders and Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) to go on intensive awareness creation.
“The State Ministry of Information is taking the lead to enlighten our people on the need to speak out when they are molested.
“Parents too need to talk to their children on how they can suspect when an uncle or guardian tries or attempts to molest them.
“Also, they should not keep quiet when they are molested. When grown-ups make advances to them, they should not keep quiet, they should speak out as well as tell their parents.
“That way it will help in reducing the number of cases of child molestation and even kidnapping,” he said.
Akase also advised parents to watch over their children to know their whereabouts at any point in time and enjoined them to always talk to their children to be aware of their environment.
“If you are sending your child to go and buy something be sure of his or her safety. This way we will be helping to reduce incidences of child molestation.
“Security agencies are not enough, therefore, they cannot be everywhere, so, we must be our own security. Everyone is involved in this enterprise,” he said. (NAN)