Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo

Osinbajo tasks Nigerian media professionals on rule of law, press freedom

*Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo commends journalists for their ‘civic vigilance’, and appeals for more collaboration with the Nigerian Government to protect the information space in the country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Stressing the meaningful contribution of the press as members of the Fourth and ‘Fifth’ Estates of the Realm in ensuring that Nigeria remains safe, secure, and united in the comity of nations, Vice-President (Prof.) Yemi Osinbajo has commended media professionals for their “civic vigilance”, and urged them to remain steadfast in application of the rule of law and press freedom in the West African country.

Vice-President Osinbajo stated this Monday, September 27, 2021, when he received Mr. Chris Isiguzo, President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, FCT.

Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice-President, in a statement issued Monday said that the Vice-President also noted that it is the duty of the press, as well as politicians and others, to ensure the country is safe, secure and united.

Mr. Chris Isiguzo, President of NUJ

In emphasising the importance of such as responsibility, Osinbajo recognised journalists for their civic vigilance, and appealed for more collaboration with the government to protect the information space in Nigeria.

The statement also noted that the Vice-President urged the Nigerian stakeholders to replicate such efforts in the interest of security and unity of all.

Osinbajo stated: “This country is ours; whether we are press, politicians or religious people, the country is ours, and we must do everything to ensure that the country remains safe, secure, and united, and this so important.

“I thank you for your civic vigilance, for the very kind words you have spoken about Nigeria, and for remaining steadfast in your belief for the rule of law and press freedom in the country.”

He further noted: “As I keep saying, the elite in our country, those of us who have had the benefit of education, positions and all of that, we owe millions of our people who are poor, who have no access and have no voice, a duty to ensure that we don’t let things become worse for them.”

In the task of safeguarding the information space in the country, the Vice-President noted other places where the press and government collaborated to protect the information space.

“There are so many countries faced with a national challenge and where you have people who are prepared to subvert the entire republic, the press works actively with the government to ensure that the information space is protected in such a way that people who want to subvert the republic are not allowed to do so.

“But I think it is important because your voices as respected members of the fourth estate of the realm, your voices are very important in moderating the kinds of views that we hear constantly which in the end, (if care is not taken) subverts the polity,” Osinbajo said.

In the urgent task of achieving sustainable peace in Nigeria, he stated that “it is important for us to continue to emphasise that the unity of this country is crucial because if this country breaks up in any way or becomes the subject of what some people will like it to be, all of us will lose out.

“Obviously, the elite will survive in any way but the vast majority of our people will not.

“So, I will urge that we should as much as possible do whatever we can in our spaces that we occupy to keep emphasising that we cannot afford a situation where the national unity of this country is compromised or where the country is made the theater of conflict and all sorts of insurgencies and crimes.”

In his opening remarks during the visit, the statement noted Mr. Isiguzo had applauded the initiatives of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the areas of employment opportunity creation, skills training for the youth, among others.

According to the NUJ President, the Union has over the years “engaged in training and retraining of Journalists with assistance from various development partners to build the capacity of journalists to effectively bring to public attention humanitarian situations in the country in a fair manner, honestly, and constructively.”

He, however, said the NUJ frowned on fake news, and would do everything in its powers to check the menace in Nigeria.

Isiguzo stated:  “Journalists are to be careful not to be tempted into propagating fake news by ensuring proper and adequate checks before stories are written and transmitted for public consumption.”

Akande stated the National Executive members of the Union present at the meeting with the Vice-President include the Deputy President, Alhaji Mukhtar Gidado; National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman; President of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Ladi Bala; and FCT Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche, among others.

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