The Federal Government has accused the media of giving less attention to recent successes recorded by the military over terrorists, bandits, militants, and other forms of insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the accusation on Thursday in Abuja, at a ceremony hosted to rename the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters building, after the Late Alhaji Wada Maida.
Maida, a pioneer member of staff of NAN was at different times, the Editor-in-Chief, Managing Director and Chairman, Board of Directors of the agency before his death.
NAN reports that the event was attended by Governor 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 banditry in the Northwest and the way they were combating terrorists in the Northeast, was being reported without serious attention by the media.
“Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the Southeast, Southwest, 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-acknowledgment 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 Organization (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 program, tagged: ”A Week in & For Nigeria’, in the month of July, did not come, out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria.
“However, those who made the trip said they traveled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely.
“If Nigerians in the 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 that whatever image problem Nigeria suffered from today, was mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by its 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 organizations reported fake news, they never had the decency to retract such stories nor apologized, but moved on as if nothing had happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report the security challenges we face.
“All we are saying is: be fair and report accurately, the efforts being made by the state and Federal Government 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, but it is also 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 faced would be successfully tackled and Nigeria would not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers.
Mohammed, however, commended the management and members of staff of NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalize the late Maida.
He said the decision to approve the proposal was not difficult for the Federal Government upon realizing 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.