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Group plans curriculum for journalists on freedom of religion in Nigeria




Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) says it is working on plans to develop a curriculum for journalists on promoting freedom of religion and belief in Nigeria.

Mr Ogabiela Daniel, the Project Manager, SFCG, said this at a three-day workshop for development of curriculum on common ground journalism in relation to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Abuja.

Daniel said the project being supported by the Netherlands Embassy would equip journalists with improved capacities to produce conflict sensitive reporting on inter faith and FoRB related issues.

He said that the curriculum would establish effective Early warning/Early Response and Referral (EWER) mechanisms for addressing FoRB violations in Nigeria.

“The curriculum is going to reduce the insensitive reporting that we are experiencing at the moment,I am very confident of this because of all the inputs the high level media and executives here have done.

“This consciousness will now stay in the sector where everybody will be doing their reporting sensitively bearing in mind that inasmuch as freedom of religion is everybody’s rights, but they will do it responsibly,” he said.

Daniel said the curriculum would help to enhance public understanding of interfaith conflict and have greater access to neutral and conflict-sensitive information related to inter-faith harmony and cohesion.

Interim Country Director, SFCG, Fatima Madaki said that the organisation’s move to develop FoRB curriculum was against the backdrop of the fact that journalists wielded immense influence over public opinion and societal perceptions.

Madaki said it was a responsibility that carried not only the duty to inform but also the profound responsibility to do ethically and sensitively.

She said that the workshops focused on conflict-sensitive reporting within the framework of FoRB acknowledged the complexities that arise when covering issues that could be deeply personal and intertwined with cultural, social and political dynamics.

“We recognise that these issues are not just news stories; they are narratives that shape identities, values and relationships.

“The intersection between FoRB and journalism ca e fraught with challenges; how do we report on matters of faith and belief with sensitivity and respect for the diverse perspectives that exist?

“How can we ensure that our reporting contributes to peaceful coexistence rather than inadvertently fueling division?

“As we engage in these discussions, let us remember that our collective commitment to ethical journalism is a catalyst for positive change,’’she said

Madaki said that understanding the principles of common ground journalism would bridge divides, dispel misinformation and contribute to a world where freedom of religion or belief was celebrated as a cornerstone of diversity and harmony.’

Mr Temisan Etietsola, the National Media Specialist, SFCG,said the organisation decided to develop the curriculum against the backdrop of the numerous religious crisis.

“We found out that when the issues of religious conflicts happens in Nigeria, journalists tend to shy away from reporting it, but we are not proactive enough to report these issues on religious freedom of religious belief.

“So we decided to develop this curriculum, in conjunction with other journalists at the top level who know what they and their colleagues want.

“We then use it to train them on how to report conflict sensitive issues around FoRB and we also feel the need for journalists that are coming up even right from the school to know how to report conflicts around FoRB issues,” he said.


We’ll reshape hospitality industry, tourism in Abia – Otti



Alex Otti

Gov. Alex Otti of Abia has expressed readiness to reshape the hospitality industry and tourism sector through creative strategies to boost the state’s economy.

Otti said this on Thursday during a meeting with members of Nigeria Hotel Association and Hotel Proprietors Association in Umuahia.

The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Caleb Ajagba, said that he was desirous to develop and strengthen the hospitality industry as well as tourism sector to meet global standards.

He said that the rebuilding agenda of the government was focused on achievement of even distribution of socioeconomic development and added that the hotel owners had a vital role to play in this regard.

“We are here to kick start what would be an enduring legacy in terms of reshaping the perception of stakeholders in the hospitality industry.

“Also looking at creative ways to move the hospitality industry, and one of the take aways we are looking at, is building partnership with stakeholders.

“Government cannot do everything, however, government will create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, but it is the responsibility of entrepreneurs to drive the process to boost wealth creation,” he said.

Otti said that the government would create channels that would enhance the visibility of Abia’s hospitality industry on the digital space, and further drive the hospitality businesses to deliver world class services.

The Commissioner for Digital Economy, Dr Matthew Ekwuruibe, urged stakeholders in the hospitality industry to align with government’s rebuilding agenda.

Ekwuruibe said that plans were underway to build a website for hotels listing and booking , as well as connecting the hotels to Google Map, and added that the website would contain information about tourism centres in Abia.

He said that the use of digital technology to reinvent the hospitality industry had a lot of benefits such as increased visibility, enhanced ease of doing business, among others.

Also, the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr Okey Kanu, said that the hospitality industry played a central role in improving the economy of any state.

Kanu said that “the hospitality industry is central to any government that is interested in growing its economy.

“The relationship between government and the hotel owners is a relationship that needs to grow into a partnership to transform the hospitality industry,”
The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Kazie Uko, described the meeting as a deliberate effort by the government to transform the hospitality industry in the state.

Uko said that the engagement between the government and stakeholders had created a viable opportunity to address the issues inhibiting the growth of the industry in the state.

Furthermore, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism and Entertainment, Mr Martins Justice, described the hospitality industry as the bedrock of the tourism sector.

Justice said that the government was working to build a hospitality industry that would meet the demands of the 21st Century as well as develop the tourism sector.

Earlier, the National Treasurer of Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr Charles Ezeala, called on the state government to create an enabling environment for hotel businesses to thrive.

Ezeala said that the government had a great role to play in assisting hotel businesses to thrive, for the hospitality industry to be transformed.

Also, Mr Nnanna Ngwakwe, a member of Hotel Proprietors Association, Aba branch, said that insecurity, poor power supply and bad roads were the bane of hotel businesses in Abia and added that this was affecting the growth of the hospitality industry in the state.

Ngwakwe called for the urgent intervention of the state government in addressing the challenges threatening the advancement of the industry in Abia.

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Gov Sule charges real sector conference to proffer practical solutions to economy



Abdullahi Sule

Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has charged participants at the Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK) 1st International Real Sector Conference to proffer practical solutions to rejuvenate the economy.

He gave the charge on the first day of the two days conference on real sector productivity held at the University in Keffi Local Government Area of the state.

The theme of the conference is “Rejuvenating the sector productivity in Nigeria”.

Sule challenged participants to get real and proffer workable and practical solutions that would rejuvenate the real sector in Nigeria for optimal productivity which in turn would impact on the economy of the country positively.

“The question we should be asking ourselves here is that why are we not getting it right in the real sector in Nigeria?

“So let us proffer practical solutions so that we don’t just end up having an event and having all the communique and all that and then they end up in our offices. Let us ask ourselves what is that is possible and how do we contribute,” he said.

He said their recommendations should also be useful in shaping a better future for the real sector in Nigeria so that future Nigerians could build on that.

“So we must sit down and deliberate on what exactly is our problems in this sector. Are we ready to make sacrifices? And we must make sacrifices because that is the only way we can move forward.

“I want to assure you that in Nigeria we can change the narratives but it will take all of you here to convince the rest,” he said.

Prof. Suleiman Bala-Mohammed, Vice Chancellor, NSUK, commended the university’s Department of Business Administration for organizing the conference and urged the department to sustain it as it would be a platform for cross fertilisation of ideas and wider conversations on local and international issues.

He also urged participants to brainstorm and come up with policy recommendations on how to rejuvenate the real sector in Nigeria.

Mr John Mamman, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Education, however, told NAN that he expected the outcome of the conference would change the narratives because the real sector, according to him, is the driver of the economy.

“The manufacturing, construction, engineering and others are the real movers of the economy. Once we get it right from the drivers of the economy, other sectors will also be impacted positively,” he said.

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