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Group plans curriculum for journalists on freedom of religion in Nigeria

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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.

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Hardship: Protesters Defy Police Warning, Hit Lagos Streets

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Residents have hit the streets of Lagos State to protest against the increasing spike in the price of food and the high cost of living in the country.

The protest was facilitated by a human rights group identified as the “Take It Back Movement.”

This comes against the warning issued by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, on Sunday.

The protesters were seen carrying placards of various inscriptions at Ojuelegba Under Bridge area of the state to express their grievances.

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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