By Haruna Salami
The Nigeria Guild of Editors, NGE has x-rayed the security situation in the country and resolved to be part of the solution to crisis.
President of NGE, Mustaoha Isah disclosed this at the 17th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference, ANEC 2021 held at the NAF Centre, Abuja Thursday.
The 2021 edition of the Annual conference with the theme “Media In Times of Crisis: Resolving Conflicts, Achieving Consensus” was well attended.
In his speech at the conference, Isah said “over the years, ANEC has provided the Nigerian Guild of Editors a huge opportunity to beam its searchlight on national issues with a view to proffering solutions to the challenges facing the nation.
Accordingly, he said insecurity is one of the major challenges facing Nigeria today, which attracted the attention of the editors.
“The entire country is engulfed in one form of crisis or the other. Every day, front pages of newspapers are replete with headlines – bordering on insurgency, banditry, kidnappings on the highways and schools, farmers/herders clashes, as well as the activities of known and unknown gunmen.
“Lives are being lost; the economy is bleeding, and scarce resources, which, ordinarily should have been used to address the nation’s infrastructure deficit, are being deployed to tackle the security challenges. The nation can’t continue like this.
“The media cannot afford to be aloof at this time of a national crisis. We have to be part of the solution to insecurity, which has become an existential threat to this great nation.
Looking at the theme of 2021 conference which is very apt, Isah said “we should rise from this conference with a resolve to be part of the solution. The Nigerian media has a rich history of rising up in times of national challenges. We played a major role in the fight against colonial rule.
“We were in the forefront in the fight for the restoration of democracy. That fight led the death of some journalists, with others imprisoned and media houses shut. So, we are currently facing another national crisis and the media must play a significant role in finding solutions – through our consensus building and agenda setting roles.
The President consequently posed a few rhetorical questions: “Should the media play up the occasional successes of insurgents and bandits against our military and other security agencies? Shouldn’t the media deliberately give adequate publicity to the gains of our dedicated military personnel against the bad guys disturbing the peace of this nation? Should we give more attention to the voices of those calling for division or those calling for unity”?
He confessed that he had no specific answersl to these questions, and hoped that the important conference would find the answers.
He is convinced that “terrorists and bandits need publicity to sustain their nefarious activities, denying them that much needed oxygen will be beneficial to our nation”.
He said Nigerian journalists belong to different ethnic groups and religions. We are facing trying times and might be tempted to align with our ethnic and religious affiliations. But as professionals, we should never allow these factors to influence our editorial judgments.