The Vice President made this known, during the commissioning and foundation laying ceremony of the first phase of the NUJ secretariat and International institute of Journalism, which held in Mabushi, Abuja.
The Vice President, who likened the hazards inherent in journalism to that of architecture, observed that Nigerian Journalists needed the establishment of enduring and effective safety standards to enable them perform their legitimate and the much needed work to keep the citizens informed.
To this end the Vice President said “these policy measures, when implemented will send a powerful message of support and solidarity for the newsmen and women who are committed to telling the Nigerian story to Nigerians and the rest of the world. Democracy will not take root unless people have the information they can rely on to make informed choices.”
Vice President Sambo implored Journalists to always observe the ethics and norms of their profession, tasking them to take full advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to get accurate and reliable information.
He said “Journalism as a noble profession has been eulogized as the “fourth estate of the realm,” “The Watch Dog”, etc. They possess the potential power to influence not only the individual but the society as a whole. And this influence could be political, socio-economic or cultural. I therefore challenge members of this profession to provide truthful, fair and comprehensive account of events and issues to the citizenry; as such enlightenment is a precursor of justice and foundation of democratic governance.”
Vice President Sambo commended the NUJ leadership for their efforts to reposition journalism and also for their foresight in putting in place permanent structures for the NUJ secretariat and the International Institute of Journalism, noting that it was a landmark achievement.
In his remarks the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, commended the leadership of the NUJ for the project and also commended the Nigerian journalists for their courage.
The chairman Board of Trustees for the project, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe said the project was the first of its kind in Nigeria, adding that the International Institute of Journalism is the first in Africa.
Earlier, the chairman of the NUJ, Mallam Mohammed Garba, while commending President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Sambo for their untiring support to the NUJ and the journalism profession, pledged that the NUJ would always identify with the administration’s Transformation Agenda.
He stressed that the NUJ stands for the peace and unity of Nigeria, enjoining journalists to observe the ethics of their profession in reporting issues regarding the National Dialogue.
The first block which would cost N55million would consist of classrooms, a library, studios and Computer laboratory. The fund raising ceremony for the project which was graced by the Vice President, was held on June 30, 2011.