The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has accused the media of playing different roles, positive and negative, in the just concl...
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has accused the media of playing different roles, positive and negative, in the just concluded 2023 general elections, even as he lamented the sudden resurgence of banditry and other forms of insecurity across the country shortly after the 2023 general elections.
Speaking as co-chair at the second quarterly meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), in Abuja, on Thursday, with the theme “media and effective nation building” Sultan stressed that media is a critical stakeholder in nation building, hence they should be involved in all activities and programmes of the government.
He said: “Take a look at what’s happening across the countries of the world where the media compromise in quality, facts and truth. it’s unfortunate that Sudan is passing through war and the role of the media is crucial in ending or prolonging the war.
“The media played a different role in the 2023 elections. The media will also play a crucial role in the coming administration. So, we expect to hear from the media professionals on their challenges and expectations and pass the message to the incoming government.
“Unfortunately, the resurgence of insecurity in the country is very alarming. Throughout the campaigns and the elections, we never had these cases of insecurity. Suddenly after the elections, the killings continued across Niger, Plateau, Kaduna and other places. These killings are definitely not related to religion, but the activities of some set of uninformed people.
“Imagine a situation where bandits would invade a community, kill people and destroy their properties, with little or no resistance from the security officials. Only for the security officials to appear long after the attacks and perhaps, to mock the people or look at the ashes of destroyed items.
“Few days ago, it was reported that some United States Embassy staff were killed and burnt in Anambra state. That’s barbaric and shouldn’t have happened because there’s not justification for that.”
President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, who is also the co-chair of NIREC, in his remarks, explained that the theme of the second quarterly meeting was designed in recognition of the vital role media play in nation building, and the need to foster unity and a better working relationship between the media and those in leadership for the interest of our country.
He said: “The media can help to enrich the conversation of leaders by providing well investigated and research stories to improve the religious literacy of the leaders, which simply means having basic knowledge of other religions and engender respect for other religions.”
He challenged media professionals to see their jobs as calling and not a profession that guarantees access to riches and fame. “This is the attitude that will help them eschew selfishness and work for the good and development of Nigeria.
He maintained that the media professionals have the power and platform to cause an end to the crisis, and they also have enough information to set different religions and ethnic nationalities on a collusion, hence the need for the professionals to understand the situation in Nigeria.
He commended the media professionals who never compromised quality and truth in their work, particularly during the just concluded general elections.
Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, in his remarks, explained that NIREC is the body saddled with the responsibility of providing leadership for the religious institutions in the country towards a harmonious and peaceful coexistence of the citizenry.
He said the blueprint and terms of reference of NIREC provide the space and capacity that can give Nigeria a national renaissance and peaceful coexistence.
“If God entrusted the deliverance of Nigeria into the hands of Christians and Muslims, then failure to entrench peace in the nation would be akin to failing God.
“I pray that God should continue to guide the leadership of NIREC with a united mission and sincerity of purpose to achieve the mandate for which it was established.”
He appreciated the unflinching support he received from the traditional and religious leaders over the years he served as SGF which resulted in appreciable growth and development of Nigeria’s democracy.
He suggested that more should still be done, especially in the key areas of effective and investigative reportage that promotes peace and unity among and between members of the various religious and ethnic groups in the country.