Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Media Urged To De-Escalate Violent Conflicts in Africa as ECOWAS Holds Sensitization in Anambra State

By our publisher
(Okechukwu Onuegbu)

A one day sensitisation workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission, has ended in Awka, Anambra State with a call on the media practitioners to stick copiously on reporting issues that will deepen democracy and de-escalate violent conflicts in West African Sub-Region.

The theme of the workshop was, “The Role of the Media in Deepening Democracy and De-Escalating Violent Conflicts in West African Sub-Region”.

Speaking in a keynote address, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro at the opening session of the sensitisation programme said the activity is to mark the 40th anniversary of the formation of Economic community of West African States, ECOWAS.

Senator Obanikoro, who was represented by the Director of Regions in the Ministry, Amb. Saleh Manu Pisagih admitted that ECOWAS is so unpopular among the citizens of the member states, hence, their decision to celebrate the 40th anniversary in various states of Nigeria.

He however recalled on the intention of the founding fathers of ECOWAS in May 1975 to include inter allia: a framework to promote cooperation and integration  of the economies of  West African States in order to raise the standard of living of its people.

Obanikoro, further noted that ECOWAS commission has put in place a functional mechanism in terms of legally binding protocols and institutional framework to addressing the dynamics and trends of violent conflict, regretting that human capital has been a tormenting factor in the commission’s achievements.

In his address, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadie Desire Ouchaogo who spoke through Mr. Okey Uzoechina emphasised that ECOWAS established several organs and institutions like the ECOWAS Commission, ECOWAS Parliament and Community Court of Justice in order to achieve the  objectives of the founding fathers.

While describing the theme of the workshop as apt, Ouchaogo thanked the media for their pivotal role in sustaining democracy in Nigeria but however called on them to always be objective in their reportage so as to assist the commission to propagate its vision to 15 member states and 340 million people of West Africa, adding that ECOWAS will continue to develop the existing instruments to deepen democracy and prevent conflict.

“I am glad to announce to you that after 40 years experiment, we have far exceeded the expectations of our founding fathers and Nigeria has played a lead role in promoting socio-cultural exchange in advancing security cooperation, in supporting peacekeeping and peace enforcement where necessary.

“We are confident that Nigeria will continue to be a shining example of comitement to deepening democracy and de-escalating violent conflict in West Africa” he said.

Collaborating his stand, the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Mohammed Garba, represented by the Editor, Nigeria Chronicle, Calabar in Cross river State,
Mr. Samuel Egbeala  in a paper entitled: The Role of the Media in the  Democratic process in Nigeria” stressed that the role of the media is very critical in our democracy.

He urged Nigerian media to always promote the things that will sustain our democracy rather than the things that will destroy it.

While declaring the event open, earlier, the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Comrade Leo Imoka commended ECOWAS for growing from strength to strength in fostering economic integration 40 years after.

H urged them to use the 40years anniversary to examine its challenges and work towards addressing some of their challenges.

Obiano noted that Nigerian media has been so powerful in its role of deepening democracy and de-escalating violent conflicts in the West African Sub-Region, saying that the media serves as the link between government and the governed.

The sensitisation was attended by the members of Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, National Orientation Agency, NOA, National Council for women Society, NCWS, National Youth Service Coup, NYSC, Community-Based Organisation among others.



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