The spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Lai Muhammed has implored the media to reflect the federal government resolve towards tackling terrorism in the country.
Speaking during the Award of Fellow of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) conferred on him by the union in recognition of his contribution to journalism in Abuja Thursday, Muhammed charged the media not rest on their oars, especially at this time that the nation faces huge challenges in almost all sectors.
“I want to use this important platform provided by the NUJ – a professional media organisation aiming to connect journalists nationwide with the information and opportunities they need to advance professionally and improve media in Nigeria – to appeal to the media to reflect, in their reporting, the seriousness with which the new Administration is approaching the Boko Haram insurgency.
“It is not just enough for the media to daily chronicle the attacks and the death tolls therefrom, they must also contextualize such reporting. In other words, whereas there appears to have been a spike in Boko Haram attacks in recent times, what is indeed happening is that the terrorists have been forced to change tactics, because they have been weakened and put on the run.
“Lone wolf suicide bombings and the choice of soft targets by retreating Boko Haram members are now the order of the day, as against the terrorists’ previous coordinated actions of seizing and holding territories. Today, not a single local government in Nigeria is under the control of Boko Haram, unlike in the recent past when they held a huge swath of territory, installed their own emirs and even collected taxes,” the APC scribe said.
Receiving the award, Muhammed said: “whatever modest contributions I have made in this regard would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of the media. Simply put, I have enjoyed an unalloyed support and unparalleled cooperation from the media in carrying out my duties, first as the long-time spokesman for the opposition and now, as the spokesman the ruling party.
“Therefore, in accepting the Award, I want to dedicate it to the Nigerian Media for their role not only in strengthening our democracy but also in the recent historic and successful transition from a ruling party to the opposition.
“It is not for fun that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria specifically mentioned, in Chapter 11 sub-section 22, that: ‘The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.’
“In essence, the media are widely acclaimed as the watchdog of the society, of democracy and indeed of the entire political process
“I make bold to say that the Nigerian media have performed their constitutionally-assigned role creditably, despite tough challenges and a few setbacks here and there,” he said.