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Tribune MD urges Nigerian society to protect journalists



Tribune MD urges Nigerian society to protect journalists

A Media Professional, Mr Edward Dickson, has called on the Nigerian society to always protect journalists in the course of performing their job of standing for the truth.

Dickson, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, African Newspapers of Nig Plc, publishers of the Tribune titles, made the call at the 2022 International Day To End Impunity Against Journalists.

He spoke on, “Truth, Journalist and Building a Great Nation”.

It was organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NU), Oyo State Council, in Ibadan to mark the day with the theme:

“International Day To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists”.

According to him, every year journalists become more endangered in Nigeria as they are subjected to unwarranted arrest, physical attack, threat and harassment in the course of performing their duties.

“Why should an attempt by journalists to bring the populace to speed concerning happenings in the society be recompensed with attacks, detention, harassment or even death?,” he queried.

Dickson noted that many people were fighting the truth because “it exposes their underbelly. Many strive to kill it because it reveals their true nature”.

According to him, when they cannot kill it, they agitate for the publication of their own shade of the truth.

“But, when this fails, they become hostile, antagonistic or even violent and can go to any extent to muzzle the journalist, destroy his organisation or even exterminate him.

“Unknown to those who are opposed to the truth and want to stifle the journalist in the process, truth is the spine of any society.

“No country can be great without embracing and facing the truth.

“In any society where truth is muffled, corruption, lawlessness, high-handedness, sicknesses, poverty and underdevelopment hold sway.

“Truth is the propeller of development and prosperity; it is also the harbinger of healing and forgiveness,” he said.

Dickson observed that since journalists stand for the truth, it means that they also stand for the development, progress and prosperity of the nation.

“It means they are working for the improvement and wellness of their country.

“It means they are working for the realisation of the corporate vision and aspiration of the society; that then, makes the journalist a friend of the society.

“Therefore, anyone who hinders a journalist from performing his job is not just an enemy of the truth; he is also an enemy of the society.

“This is because the first signal of a country that is on its way to the abyss is that truth is sacrificed. Truth is the first casualty when a country is heading for trouble.

“Since journalists are committed to the truth that can advance the cause of a society, the society has a responsibility to defend and protect them from those who are determined to stop them from discharging this critical function through assaults, attacks, harassment or threats.

“The society needs to understand that it is in its own interest to protect journalists and provide them an enabling environment for the discharge of their duty,” he said.

Dickson also said that the society should mobilise its police to protect journalists who work for the truth, rally its judiciary to defend them at all times and support them relentlessly in their undertakings.

“When a society protects its journalists, it defends the truth; and when a society defends the truth, it is on the pathway to progress.

“To protect the truth is to keep the truth alive and keeping the truth alive by protecting journalists is the gateway to societal progress,” he said.

Dickson said that by the nature of their calling, journalists stand for the truth and report the truth, hence their appellation as “the conscience of the society”.

“A cardinal principle of journalism is fairness. The test of a good report is balance. Journalists are always on the side of the truth because by their training they are supposed to be unbiased.

“So, journalists do not colour the truth, they don’t modify the truth, they don’t even shield the truth, rather what they do is to lay bare the truth and sometimes interpret same to help the society take informed decisions.

“But, that is the root of journalists’ problem, because it is not everyone that loves the truth, neither is everyone interested in the revelation of the truth or having it published,” he said.

Contributing, Prince Dotun Oyelade, the Executive Chairman, Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), said in the past 31 years, almost 2000 journalists have been killed around the globe.

Oyelade said that of these, just a little over 100 cases were resolved.

“The lesson in all these is that journalists must recognise the danger they live in on daily basis.

“Journalists should strive hard with one voice to clamour for the best living condition for themselves while they are still relevant and alive,” Oyelade said.



MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods



MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema



Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami



Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

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