The Federal Government has accused the media of giving less attention to the recent successes being recorded by the military over terrorists, bandits, militants and other form of insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the accusation on Thursday in Abuja at the renaming of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters building after the Late Wada Maida.
Maida, a pioneer member of staff of NAN was at different time, the Editor-in-Chief, the Managing Director and Chairman, Governing Board of the Agency before his death.
The event was attended by Gov. Aminu Masari of Katsina, Deputy Governor of Kano State, Dr Nasir Gauna among other dignitaries.
Mohammed noted that the decisive manner in which the gallant troops were tackling the banditry in the North-West and the way they were combating the terrorists in the North-East was being reported without serious attention by the media.
Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face.
“This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic,’’ he said.
The minister illustrated the damage the non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies posed to the country.
“Let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja.
They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme, tagged ”A Week in & For Nigeria’’, during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria.
“However, those who made the trip said they
Travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely.
“If Nigerians in diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country,” he said.
The minister asserted “whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media”.
if one picks up most newspapers, watches most television stations or listens to most radio stations in Nigeria today, he or she will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war”.
He said some media organisations reported fake news, they never had the decency to retract such stories and apologise but moved on as if nothing had happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face.
“All we are saying is, be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges.
“Even if you don’t want to encourage the men
and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting.
Yes, we have challenges, especially
in the area of security. But this administration has not only acknowledged these challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges
“It may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist, in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down,” he said.
The minister assured that the security challenges the country was facing would be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, in spite the antics of naysayers.
Mohammed commended the management and members of staff of NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
He said the decision to approve the proposal was not difficult for the Federal Government upon realising the role played by Maida in making NAN the respectable agency till date.
The minister added that Maida’s immense contribution to the development of journalism was not restricted to NAN alone because he made impact on the national and international stage.