National Commandant of Peace Corps of Nigeria (PCN), Prof. Dickson Akoh, on Tuesday admonished Nigerian Journalists on good and accurate reportage.
According to Akoh, only genuine and verifiable reportage could assist the country, especially, the security agents win the war against terrorism.
Akoh gave this charge when the Online Journalists in Abuja visited his office to honour the PCN as ‘Organization of the Year’.
“The country is passing through a whole lot, security-wise, your report will go a long way in helping the country, as efforts are being intensified to address the security concerns, anything that could heighten or instill fear should not be reported. Am not saying you should not be objective in your report, but issue of security are very sensitive that can cause high degree of disharmony or tension in the land”, Akoh said.
Stressing further, the Peace Corps Boss said, “Yesterday, I saw a scroll bar message and the message was to the effect that gunmen invaded one primary school in Kaduna, in Birnin Gwari to be specific. I was concerned that kidnapping has gone to the extent of primary school. In fact the report said so many students were picked, but when I got home, I discovered that there was no pupil that was picked, it was only three of their teachers and when the gunmen invaded the school, the pupils ran helter-skelter and in the process two went to different directions and another parent saw them, picked them and kept them until when situation calmed down and took them to the traditional ruler.
“However, it was not reported as such, all we heard was gunmen took so many pupils. So I call for objectivity and high sense of reasoning in reporting national issues as it bothers the security of this nation”.
On the Bill for an Act to establish Nigerian Peace Corps, currently before the National Assembly, Akoh charged the online media to continue bringing out the best in the Bill in their reportage, while calling on lawmakers to expedite actions on its passage.
Earlier in his address, Chairman of National Assembly New Media, Comrade Yemi Itodo, applauded the many selfless and voluntary activities of the Corps towards nation-building.
“The nomination of PCN for Organization of The Year recognition is hinged on the many laudable community efforts of the organization and her activities at ensuring peace, unity, safety and security of Nigerian people.
“We cannot forget in a hurry, the role the PCN played during the general lockdown in Nigeria in 2020, by collaborating with different security agencies and essential workers across the federation, at ensuring the security and safety of the people, while striving to get the masses to conform with the Federal Government’s guidelines at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
“Officers of the PCN, despite being a voluntary organization and without any remunerations from the Federal Government, unlike other essential workers, staked their lives to ensure the lives of other citizens were saved. This is in addition to many community development interventions of the Corps across the country, most of which are not in the media”, Itodo said.
The Journalist used the occasion to call on the National Assembly to quickly pass the Bill before it for onward assent of President Muhammad Buhari, adding that, the Bill would give legal backing for Prof. Akoh-led Peace Corps to enable it assist in curbing insecurity in the schools.
“Nigeria is bleeding and our schools are being overrun by armed bandits who have technically become stupendously rich on account of the helplessness of the innocent school children and haplessness of the Nigerian system. We therefore call on Peace Corps of Nigeria, to come to our aide. We want the organization to step up and stand out in what they are trained to do best.
“Since its inception in 1998, we have kept tabs with the activities of Peace Corps as it relates to orientation of school children, establishment of Peace Corps Club in schools, campaigns against social vices and exam malpractices, intelligence gathering and neighbourhood watch around the school communities.
“We may not be far from the truth to declare that, Peace Corps Officers, though not trained with arms, are mentally and technically equipped to provide the needed synergy the Nigeria’s security personnel deserve to curb insecurity in our school environments.
We therefore, call on members of the National Assembly to speed up legislative actions on the passage of the much anticipated Nigerian Peace Corps Bill which is currently before the two Chambers”, he added.
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