US Supports Editors’ Capacity Building With N93.3m …As NGE Holds Workshops, Town Hall Sessions In Six Zones
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has received $226, 889 (equivalent of about N93.3million) from the United States of America to facilitate activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of its members to understand, appreciate and deliver on their constitutionally assigned responsibility to hold government accountable to the people.
The grant was presented to the NGE by the US Embassy in Nigeria.
In a press statement by its President, Mustapha Isah, and General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, yesterday, the NGE said the capacity building would include training programmes for editors and other senior journalists on Press Freedom/Democracy, as well as town hall meetings on media regulation framework.
‘’The project also entails printing and distribution of the Journalism Code of Ethics, and strengthening of the NGE’s website – news alerts on media violations.
“These capacity building conferences, which will hold in the six geo-political zones across the country, are to provide a platform for editors to be reminded of the sacred duties they are tasked to perform by the constitution on behalf of the citizens’’, the NGE stated.
‘’Drawing copious examples from the advanced democracies around the world, like US – after which the Nigerian constitution is formed, the conferences are expected to instil in the editors the need to perform their duties with the highest form of standard and sense of responsibilities.’’
The body of all Nigerian professional editors hopes that a responsive and professional media will have the spin-off effect of keeping the government on their toes, holding government accountable to the citizens, securing the confidence and support of the citizens and the international community and advancing the democratic growth and consolidation.
Explaining other components of the project, the NGE added that it would also strengthen the Guild’s website to meet up with the demands for news alerts on media violations, public feedback and complaints on allegations of malicious media reportage.
‘’This would provide an opportunity for the Guild to strengthen its online presence to promptly disseminate current information with members and the general public, including international partners and audiences.
‘’A third component is the printing and distribution of Nigeria Journalism Code of Ethics to all journalists, including editors to popularise among editors and senior journalists the professional code of ethics that guilds their profession and have these instilled in their sub-consciousness and serve as a guiding principle.
‘’It will also help to promote good governance, transparency and deepening of democracy through objective media practices that effectively demands accountability from those in authorities towards advancing the socio-economic well-being and rights of the people, and enrich their cultural practices, and human rights, in line with the values expected of a modern democratic state’’, the statement said.
The NGE said that at this critical point in Nigeria, especially as it moves towards 2023 general election, the country needs a media that can help set social and political agenda in support of a better society, helping to build visions of hope, nudge Nigerians and Nigeria on the path of development, social reengineering and renaissance.
On the town hall meetings component of the project, the statement explained that it would provide huge opportunity for stakeholders to assess media performance in consolidating Nigerian’s democracy and outline an agenda for the future.
The NGE said that it has also planned strategy meetings with Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media-focused NGOs on framework for self-regulation for Nigerian media.
‘’This will provide a platform for media stakeholders to undertake self-introspection and develop a framework for media regulation, which will not only have their buy-in but also improve the standard for media practice in Nigeria thereby reducing, if not eliminate, incidents of sub-standard and unprofessional reportage in the Nigerian media.
‘’Such conversations and hopefully eventual adoption of self-regulatory framework could also have a regional spin-off whereby countries within the region, and indeed Africa, could be encouraged to borrow a leaf from the Nigerian example, as was the case with the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria subsequently having a positive spin-off in Ghana’’, the NGE added.
On the expected impact of the project, the editors said that a pool of Nigerian editors and media managers would be galvanised and would be committed to the highest ethical standard and taking robust actions to ensure same, and committed to the promotion and protection of the right to independent press, freedom of expression and the deepening of democratic space.
The NGE also hoped that at the end of the project, mobilised pool of editors would be constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to the statement, the programme looks to galvanise the key stakeholders to act responsibly and deny the authorities the moral authority to take punitive actions against the media for performing their constitutionally assigned role to hold the government to account, and to the general citizens the right to hold and voice their opinions on the conduct of public officers.
From the timelines of the project, the South-West conference and the Town Hall meeting would hold in Lagos between December 2 and 4 while that of South-South would hold in the first quarter of 2022.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
We’ll Expand Socio-Economic Opportunities For All Rivers People -Fubara ……As Wike Bows Out
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has declared his administration’s resolve to expand the existing socio-economic opportunities in order to engender prosperity for all Rivers people.
Fubara made this declaration on Monday at the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia, venue of his swearing-in as the sixth democratically elected governor of Rivers State.
Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Amadi, administered the oath of office on the new governor and his deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.
Thereafter, the former governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, handed over the flag of Rivers State and handover notes to his successor.
Fubara, in his inaugural address titled “Together, Let’s Consolidate the New Rivers State”, noted the poor state of the national economy, but promised that his administration would take measures to diversify Rivers economy and insulate it so that it can grow.
He also assured of promoting the climate of ease of doing business in the State to attract direct foreign investment capable of empowering Rivers people.
“The primary responsibility of a new government is to do its best to advance the security and well-being of the State and its citizens.
“Therefore, as we undertake our responsibilities, we promise to stay the course, commit to cooperative governance and expand opportunities for everyone. The wishes of our people for a happy life are our mission in politics.
“We will prioritise the well-being of the State and citizens with a renewed focus on economic growth, people-centred projects and social services”, he said.
He said further that, “We will improve the ease of doing business and sustain a congenial fiscal regime to attract local and foreign direct investments to stimulate greater economic activities, create wealth and improve citizens’ livelihoods.
“We will adopt a re-industrialization policy master plan and partner with the private sector to revive or establish viable industries to create jobs and empower our people.
“We will also support the growth of small businesses and encourage commercial agriculture to achieve food security, industrialization and improved living standards for citizens.”
Fubara added that his administration is already building on the successes of his predecessor and will construct more projects including the Port Harcourt ring road.
According to him, there shall be healthy partnership with private investors to provide integrated inter-modular public transportation system in the State.
“We witnessed unprecedented growth in infrastructure in the last eight years, but there’s still more to do.
“We will follow our leader’s footsteps to invest in capital projects, including roads, bridges, electricity supply to our rural areas, and social housing.
“We will, therefore, partner with the private sector to develop an integrated multimodal public transportation system to advance mass mobility and access to socio-economic opportunities across the state.
“We will also construct the Port Harcourt Ring Road to enhance the mobility of goods and services across the State”.
Fubara said the challenges in the health sector like inadequate manpower and corruption would be addressed to achieve optimal performance.
In the education sector, he promised to provide smart classrooms for students to prepare for global competition, empower the youths with skills to become economically active while being connected to small and medium scale business opportunities.
He said, “We care about our youth. We know they need jobs, opportunities, empowerment and the freedom to build sound, promising futures. We will not abandon our youth to their fate. We will continue prioritizing education at all levels and empower our youth with the relevant skills and opportunities to become economically active, productive and prosperous.
“We believe in the job creation capacity of small and medium enterprises. And so, we shall facilitate targeted access to low-interest funds for youth entrepreneurs to start or improve their businesses, earn decent incomes and generate employment for themselves and others.”
The governor particularly acknowledged the achievements of his predecessor in the health sector saying, “We are also proud of the state’s achievements in the healthcare sector, particularly the construction of new primary healthcare centres, the Mother and Child Hospital, the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, the Dr. Peter Odili Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and the contributory Healthcare Insurance Law.
“With what is on the ground, it is evident that the primary challenges with our healthcare system are more with inadequate manpower, corruption, indiscipline and ineffective management”.
Fubara gave a firm assurance by saying: “I assure you that apart from completing all ongoing healthcare infrastructure projects, we will deal with all identified challenges and ensure that the healthcare system functions optimally to deliver affordable and efficient healthcare to citizens.
“We are equally proud of the State’s unprecedented educational advancement, especially in the last four years. Our public schools at all levels, irrespective of location, are some of the lovely and best-resourced in the country.”
According to him, his administration will consolidate on the progress made so far by “introducing smart schools and classrooms across the State to empower our children with world-class learning experiences and make Rivers State a knowledge hub.”
Fubara vowed to be hard on crime and criminality in the State saying, “We will be hard on crime and criminality. We will swiftly and firmly deal with anyone, regardless of status or position, rich or poor, who breaks our laws or dares to violate our environment, peace and security”.
The governor thanked civil servants for their support and promised regular payment of salary, gratuity, more training, promotion for them and housing for low income earners.
Describing the civil servants as members of his constituency, he said, “To our civil servants, I thank all of you for your invaluable contributions to the state’s progress over the years.
“We appreciate your indispensability and promise to meet all our obligations to you, including regular payment of wages, pensions, gratuity, training and promotions. All we ask is your continued patriotism, dedication, and enthusiasm in the execution of your official duties”.
He further promised to govern Rivers people with the fear of God, cognizance of the fact that Rivers is a Christian state.
He also assured the church and spiritual leaders of his administration robust partnership to enhance the moral and spiritual wellbeing of Rivers people.
“Rivers State is a Christian State, and God is our foundation. We shall govern with the fear of God and stay strong to our Christian values of trust, faith, love, care and sacrifice.”
“We shall deepen the inseparable ties between the Church and the State government for the benefit of our people. We assure the Christian Association of Nigeria and other spiritual leaders of our sincere friendship, support and solidarity.
“We will continue to support and work with the Church to defend our faith, advance our values and enhance our people’s moral and spiritual well-being”, he assured.
At the Government House, Port Harcourt, the governor hung the official portraits of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his own and that of his predecessor, Wike.
… Appoints Nwaeke HoS, Ideozu Acountant General
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has approved two new strategic appointments in the state Civil Service.
In the latest development, the governor has approved the appointment of the most senior civil servant and permanent secretary, Dr. George Nwaeke as Head of Service, Rivers State.
He also approved the appointment of Dr Uche Ideozu as the new Accountant General of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications in Rivers State, Ibiwari Clapton-Ogolo, Esq, said that the appointments take immediate effect.
The two fresh appointments bring to six the number of appointments already made by the governor since assuming duties on Monday, May 29.
The first set of appointments was the nomination of four former commissioners under Governor Nyesom Wike as commissioner-designates.
The names are Prof Zaccheaus Adangor, Dr Dakorima George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu, and Prof Prince Chinedu Mmom.
While Adangor was attorney general and commissioner for justice, George-Kelly was works commissioner, Kamalu was finance commissioner, and Mmom was education commissioner.
Fuel Scarcity: Tinubu Resumes Work, Meet With Emefiele, Kyari
President Bola Tinubu yesterday officially resumed work at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mr. Mele Kyari.
This was the first official assignment by the President after his inauguration as the 16th President of the country at the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Monday.
The President arrived at the forecourt of the State House at about 2:30 pm through the quarter guard gate, which is his official entrance gate and was received by the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and the outgoing Director of Protocol, DOP.
Others who received him were Emefiele, Kyari and a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, among others.
The President went straight to his office with Emefiele, Kyari, Gbajabiamila, Faleke and others.
Although the agenda of the meeting was not made public, it may not be unconnected with the removal of fuel subsidy and the attendant fuel scarcity.
It is expected that the issue of unification of foreign exchange, recent Naira redesign, among others will also be discussed.
Recall that President Tinubu had during his inaugural speech announced that the subsidy has been removed and this immediately made filling stations to shut down operations across the country.
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