The immediate past Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Ambassador Sarafa Tunji- Isola, has said for the media to leave up to it’s calling, it must self regulate itself, rather than government.
Isola stated this Friday, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the one year in office and commissioning of projects by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ogun state council.
The former envoy, who is the Chairman of the occasion, noted that a self-regulated media would perform its role professionally and earn respect of the society.
Isola expressed concern that both traditional and social media have been polluted, and urged professionals in the industry to self-regulate to salvage the sector.
He also charged journalists to report accurately with the mindset of protecting the national security.
He also warned against abuse of social media, saying it should be used for networking and promotion of good narrative.
“Yes, news can be reported but the ambience of the national security is important. Why? Because the world is now a global village.
“When we were young we used to see people like (Olusegun) Osoba, (Felix) Adenaike and Peter Ajayi, we used to call them three musketeers and the profession was well respected.
“I don’t believe in the government regulation of the media, but I believe in self regulation…just for you to earn your respect and maintain a reputation. Journalists are well respected across the world.
“And since this is the cradle (referring to Ogun NUJ) of journalism in Nigeria, you have a responsibility to do that”, Osola said
while fielding questions from journalists, the former Envoy, Sarafa recalled that Nigerians in the United Kingdom were not united when he assumed office in 2021, adding that the division was filed by the ill treatment they received.
He also stressed that the Yoruba tribe were rather clamouring for Oodua nation while the Igbo tribe clamored for Biafra nation.
He further disclosed that when he assumed office, the Nigerian embassy was experiencing at least three protests in one week by Nigerians.
“When I got to UK, Nigerians were not united. The people of southeast origin were doing Biafra, the people of southwest were doing Oodua nation and some of them were not even happy with the service being provided, the love of the country was not there, sense of patriotism was very low.
“When I assumed office, it used to be minimum of three protest in a year but as at today, there’s no protest in the Nigeria High Commission. I have been able to bring them together and let them to that country matters and that the division cannot help us. Nigerians in UK are now more united”, he added.
Sarafa also explained that the Japa syndrome reduced under his watch as the number reduced from about 18,000 to 10,000.
Sarafa stated “Japa experienced became pronounced when I was in office because the enrollment of Nigerian students coming for Post graduate studies had gone down. It used to be from 18, 000 to 15, 000 now it was 10,00. I happen to be a beneficiary of British education so I understand that it was good that opportunity to be created.”
“Most of my engage with the department of education, particularly the UUKI, consisting of the Vice Chancellors of universities, I discovered that the institutions over there are desirous of having Nigerians there for schooling.”
Delivering the anniversary lecture titled “Security and Media: A partnership for national development” virtually, the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Muyiwa Adejobi, noted that the challenges and opportunities presented by the security and media partnership are “dynamic and ever-evolving.”
He also noted that responsible journalism “serves not only to inform but also to hold security agencies accountable, ensuring that the public remains aware of the measures being taken to ensure their safety.”
Adejobi said “As Nigeria continues its journey toward national development, the collaboration between security forces and the media stands as a cornerstone.
“The path ahead is challenging, but with determination and a united effort, Nigeria will navigate these challenges and secure a safer and more prosperous future for its citizens and the global community.”
In his welcome address, the State Chairman of NUJ, ‘Wale Olanrewaju noted that the anniversary showcased the unity and common front in the last one year after four years of crisis and division among members.
He said his administration would continue to build on the achievements recorded and form a stronger collaboration to explore endless potentials before journalists in the state.
At the event, the union honoured the Senator representing Ogun East, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, as the Senator of the year; the State Commissioner for Housing, Jagunmolu Omoniyi, as Commissioner of the year; Hon Elemide Oludaisi, a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, as the lawmaker of the year and the Chairman of Obafemi-Owode Local Government Area, Ogunsola Adesina as the LG Chairman of the Year.