Borno newly elected Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Dauda Iliya, has tasked journalists to contribute to the post insurgency peace building and recovery efforts in the state.
Iliya gave the charge in his address at a two-day worshop on promoting safety of journalists in post conflict era.
The workshop was organised to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.
Iliya said, although journalists have reported the over a decade-long insurgency in Borno, losing some of its members in the process, they should not relent in telling the story as the state commenced its journey to recovery.
“Today marks another milestone in the history of NUJ in the state, as it is the first time Borno Council is commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against journalists.
“The Journalism profession in the last two decades has become the most perilous profession with the rising incidents of terrorism, insurgency, pandemics, political violence and ethno-religious conflict across the globe.
“It is worthy of note that journalists in Borno, the epicentre of the more than decade-long insurgency, have displayed uncommon gallantry, patriotism and professionalism.
“Despite threats, intimidation, assault and harassment in the discharge of their constitutionally assigned duties.
“More devastating is how some of our colleagues like Zakariya Isa, Farah Mala Modu and Audu Maidugu were gruesomely killed by the insurgents during the peak of the crisis.
“With the gradual return of peace to the state, journalists have a critical role to play in the post conflict recovery phase,” Iliya added.
He said the workshop with the theme, “Promoting the Safety of Journalists in Post Conflict Era”, was an opportunity to appraise critical issues affecting the union with a view to renew its image.
Declaring the workshop open, Borno Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Babakura Abba-Jato lauded the initiative by new leadership of NUJ in the state and assured it of government support.
Abba-Jato condemned all forms of violence against journalists and urged everyone to support good journalism to thrive, so as to enhance nation building.
He said as an active journalist before his appointment as commissioner by Gov. Babagana Zulum, he would ensure that the the state government remained committed to free press.
Fatima Ibrahim of the British Council’s Managing Conflict in Nigeria (MCN), who spoke on the unique role of Journalists in peace building, urged the media to use its spaces in building a peaceful society.
Others who presented goodwill messages at the occassion included the Military, Police, NLC, Civil Society Organisations, and some veteran journalists.
Papers were presented on “Post Conflict Recovery Process, Role of Journalists” by Prof. Danjuma Gambo.
Safety and Protection Issues in the Coverage of 2023 General Election in Borno, by Dr Sharafa Dauda, and Media Professional Bodies in a Digital Age: An Appraisal of NUJ, by Dr Ahmed Beidu.