- Hails NIMASA, Army synergy in capacity-building
By Ray Ugochukwu
For the nation to fully attract the desired foreign direct investment (FDI) for the Blue Economy, maritime journalists should be adequately empowered to be in a better stead to expose to the world the potentials of the sector.
This was the submission of a university lecturer, Dr. Olunifesi Adekunle Suraj of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos (UNILAG). He took the position at the recently concluded one-day workshop organized by the Nigerian Army School of Public Relations and Information (NASPRI) in collaboration with the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Lagos.
Dr. Suraj, who spoke on “Effective Use of the New Media for Responsive Maritime Reporting”, decried the poor remuneration of media practitioners and counseled NIMASA to ensure that journalists were assisted financially to do their job.
He made it clear that it was only when the media practitioners were properly educated on the Blue Economy and adequately empowered that they could report properly, the potentials of the sector for it to attract foreign investors.
The lecturer, who does not subscribe to the regulation of the social media but supports education of the masses, said there was huge potentials in the Blue Economy, and if adequately harnessed, would surpass what was currently sourced from oil.
“What is Blue Economy? As journalists, do you understand what Blue Economy is all about? I know why I’m asking these questions. It’s only when you know and understand the subject matter that you can report it properly.
“I commend NIMASA and the Nigerian Army for this initiative on the Blue Economy, which is so huge and if the benefits are maximized, the country would never lack; oil is no way any match to it.
“Somebody said the journalists are not well paid. That is unfortunate. I advise NIMASA to assist them, train them, empower them; let them understand what the Blue Economy is all about so that they can report it adequately. It is only this way that the expected direct foreign investments can come. The sector is huge. Take them on sea tours; let them see the Blue Economy and appreciate it for better reportage”, Suraj said.
He made it clear that it was only through the media that the world could get information on the potentials of Nigeria’s Blue Economy, pointing out that it was only when it was accurately reported that investors could buy into it.
Dr. Suraj, who charged journalists to take over the social media in order to push out the quacks, advised practitioners to take cognizance of national security in their reportage of events. According to him, responsible journalism was required to expose the potentials of the sector to the world to attract FDI as anything to the contrary could scare away investors.
He commended the NIMASA and the Nigerian Army for the synergy they had built in the training of journalists and advised that it should be a continuous project to enable more media practitioners to get trained.
Earlier in his opening remark, the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, had commended the media for its support so far and urged it not to relent in its cooperation with the agency.
Jamoh, who was represented at the event by his Special Assistant (SA) on Media, Mr. Ubong Essien, pledged that whatever was required to support the media through capacity-building would be done by the Agency.
He said that NIMASA was aware of the country’s potentials as a coastal nation and as such was cognizant of the possibility of leveraging on the media to achieve results for the benefit of the nation.
On his part, the Acting Commandant of NAPSRI, Col. Aliyu Yusuf, commended the participants for attending the workshop, pointing out that the exercise was a learning process that required training and retraining.
He said the School’s synergy with NIMASA was to build capacity for maritime reporting and hoped that more journalists would benefit from the programme as time went on.
Col. Yusuf believed that the workshop would not only enhance efficiency and effectiveness of journalists but would equally boost the already existing relationship between the two bodies.
The workshop, had in attendance over 50 journalists drawn from different conventional and online media establishments and was held at the NASPRI Auditorium, Bonny Cantonment, Victoria Island, Lagos.