Investigate, Be Professional, Wike Challenges Journalists

By: Wisdom Acka

Journalists have been tasked to always exhaust investigations, in line with ethics of the profession, before filing their stories.

FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, who gave this challenge on Wednesday, while inaugurating the new leadership of the FCT Minister’s Press Corps in his office, charged members of the media to always go deeper than news and report with facts and objectivity.

His words: “We have to report the correct thing. Anything you don’t understand, ask us.”

Wike noted that as an important component of the society, society could not progress without the media playing its role effectively; adding that the roles could be positive and negative.

He was reacting to errors he identified in sections of the media quoting him to have directed payment of over N800 billion, when the correct figure was in millions, not billions.

The Minister also cleared the air that he did not tag any figure illegal structures for demolition, neither did he provide any list of areas for demolition.

According to him, the positive role of the media was the one in the good interests of the country and society, while the negative role was that which was selfish and personal.

The Minister stressed, “We all have our own biases…and roles, as civil servants and as politicians, but we need to put aside selfish interests for national interest and good of the society.

Revealing that there were tremendous challenges in the FCT, Wike stated that the good, bad and ugly would be taken, in order to succeed.

He identified the elite for being responsible for many abuses of the Abuja Master Plan; vowing to correct as much wrongs as he could.

“Things are bad, come and help us solve these problems. Mr. President has brought us here for it. The place is a beautiful place, well-designed, built for all of us, but the elites are the problem”, he added.

The Minister, therefore, restated that all taxes would be paid to enable the FCT Administration deliver on promises of services and infrastructure.

In her remarks earlier, FCT Minister of State, Mariya Mahmoud commended the Press Corps for robust coverage of the FCTA so far and corroborated Wike in urging for professionalism, objectivity, fairness and accuracy.

Mahmoud also underscored the importance of the Press; saying that as politicians, the relationship with the press was mutual, because they could not do without the press and vice versa.

Newly inaugurated Chairman of the Press Corps, Hudu Yakubu of Voice of Nigeria, pledged that the Corps would continue to be objective and hold the Administration accountable to promises made.

He assured the Minister and members of the Administration that members of the Press Corps would always cross check facts and figures before going to the press.

Members of the 8-man EXCO include, Ejirogene Fifen of BenTV (Vice Chairman); Omeiza Ajayi, Vanguard Newspapers (Secretary); Caleb Onwe, New Telegraph (Assistant Secretary); and Wisdom Acka, Abuja Digest (Financial Secretary).

Others are, Sarah Negedu of Abuja Inquirer (Treasurer); Toyin Adebayo, Daily Independent (Welfare Secretary); and Abdullahi Tanimu of Blueprint Newspapers (Auditor).