Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday called on the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to fashion out appropriate and realistic strategies to curtail the activities and effects of quacks in the journalism profession.
The Governor who spoke at the opening ceremony of the first Quarterly National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the NUJ held at the Combo Hall, Lagos Television Complex, Ikeja, said the journalism profession is one that has produced legendary and patriotic Nigerians and role models, therefore it was the duty of the Union to sustain the legacies laid down by its founding fathers.
He said that members of the NUJ, especially in the employment of the State Government have been supportive of his administration’s effort in making life more meaningful for the people by holding brief for the electorate.
Governor Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, also commended the NUJ, saying that they have been fundamental to the defence and promotion of democracy and electoral process in Nigeria, urging them to sustain the integrity and reputation the profession accords.
“I urge you to continue to guard your reputation and integrity against the activities of fifth columnists who may want to capitalise on the fluidity of internet communication and post scurrilous and unfounded information on supposed blog sites to cause disharmony and disaffection in the society.
“Inasmuch as the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, we should be responsible with our utterances and statements,” he said.
He urged them to seize the occasion of the NEC meeting to review the various channels for accessing information, especially in the public interest, including the provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
He specifically charged the Union to see the meeting as an opportunity to scrutinise the effects of internet technology on the training and practice of journalism in Nigeria.
“Journalists are agents of change by virtue of your profession and relevance to the society. The influence of information managers affects the way we live and do business, more importantly in the global community,” he said.
Governor Ambode also charged the NUJ to support the efforts of his administration by deploying their skills in helping to find solutions to some of the nation’s challenges.
“In addition to communicating the message of :change” and holding individuals and government officials accountable for their actions, I believe you possess the training and skills to effectively collaborate with relevant government agencies in beaming light on critical national issues bordering on corruption insecurity and those that could lead to the recovery of our “Chibok Girls” among others.
He assured that his administration will continue to promote freedom of speech with responsibility, just as he assured that a safe and secured Lagos that will be a haven for all to live and prosper will continue to be given top priority going forward.
Among those present at the meeting include Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu 1; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; member of the House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke; Chairman, Nigeria Football Supporters Club, Dr. Rafiu Ladipo, among others.