The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has urged the Federal Government to redouble its effort in securing lives and property in the country.
National President of the union, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, who gave the charge, also tasked media practitioners to take up the responsibility of uniting the nation at this critical time.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, June 3, in Abuja, Isiguzo said the media must rise up to the challenge of the moment and ensure that Nigeria remained a united entity as it navigates the challenges of insecurity.
He said the need for the media to play its role effectively informed the theme of the forthcoming NUJ National Conference: “The Media, Insecurity and National Unity” scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, next week.
According to him, the NUJ is worried that national politics, terrorism and banditry are seeking to divide the country and the media should not allow that but rather stand up to unite the country.
“The responsibility of government is primarily to protect life and property of its citizens and therefore it will be disastrous to allow citizens to lose confidence in its ability to deal with the situation.
“Nigeria’s ranking as one of the members of club of 10 top kidnapping countries in the world and a leading one in Africa is a source of concern for the Union especially as violence in the country has affected millions of Nigerians.
“Hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have so far crossed into neighbouring West African countries as refugees and the situation is daily being aggravated by lack of adequate response from government.
“Economic well-being of millions of Nigerians has been affected as agricultural activities have been suspended because of inadequate security. There is a clear and obvious risk of acute food insecurity in the country.
“The thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), especially in the North-east and Central Nigeria, have reached alarming proportions, even as these displaced Nigerians continue to compete for scarce resources such as water, land and food.
“There are protection concerns majorly for the vulnerable — women, children and the elderly — while water, sanitation and hygiene have become priority needs in the affected areas”.
According to Isiguzo, the theme of the conference: The Media, Insecurity and National Unity is timely because of the pivotal role of the media as an effective tool for addressing Issues of national unity and insecurity.
He disclosed that the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, will officially declare the conference open while his Abia State counterpart, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, would deliver the keynote address.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed will present a paper on Media Against Insecurity: Upholding Ethical Standards while a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), OCJ Okocha (SAN), would chair the conference.