By Nnamdi Chigozie, reporting from Abuja
In a separate media parley, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations and the Environment Reporters Association of Nigeria, have called for more professional media coverage of government activities at all times. They made separate calls in Abuja, last Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18, respectively, while ex-raying the activities of some government parastatals, especially the Transmission Company of Nigeria, with regards to the current efforts to stabilize electricity supplies in the country. Speaking in his remarks, Mr. Henry Aleguino, who is the President of the Advocacy for Good Ethics and Accountability for Development(AGEAD), and Chief Convener of the parley, leading other allied members comprising more than thirty other groups, identified professional media reporting as the sure way to go for appropriate nation building.
He called on the media to imbibe professional ethics and acceptable conduct in the course of duty to avoid misleading impressions capable of generating tension. “It is important we embrace the mandatory practice of being positive and solution providers at all times instead of bowing to sentiments”, he disclosed. According to Mr. Henry, the task of nation-building is never an easy task, and as such the wisest thing to do was to join hands wherever possible to achieve the desired objective. “He pointed out that inaccurate media reporting does more harm than good in society and shouldn’t be encouraged. “We need to be mindful about the consequences of our action, especially in a guilty diverse society like ours, and avoid schism of any sort”, he stated.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the management of the Electricity agency to successfully deliver on their mandate while trying to navigate through various difficult circumstances they encounter, some of which include vandalism, insurgency-prone areas, and not least, swampy areas and thick forests. “The several difficult terrains including swamps, forests and areas prone to flooding”. He then enjoined all Nigerians to be on deck to support the activities of TCN, especially in monitoring high-tension wires that run through their neighborhood. “When those cables are vandalized, for electricity supply not to be disrupted, they have to resort to emergency ways to have them fixed”, he explained further.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ambrose Inusa Sule, President of the Environmental Reporters Association of Nigeria also commended the efforts of the TCN management for their deft handling of the distribution of energy in such an environmentally sound manner. He said under the difficult terrain that impacts negatively on the smooth transmission of electricity, it was impossible not to resort to what he called “emergency procurement methods” to quickly effect repairs. He stated that from their observations, the process of getting worthwhile results was full of hiccups and demanded extra effort. “We live in difficult times and it is necessary to show concern to speed up nation-building”, he stated.
While blaming the activities of criminals, vandals, and insurgents for the partial or full collapse of the nation’s grid which often drags the nation into disrepute, he explained that the problems are not insurmountable stressing that his association would do well to always inform Nigerians on the complexity of generating and distributing electricity nation-wide, especially in flood-prone areas which in turn result to rapid erosion of Tower Bases, which is inevitable as the same lines must convey electricity to citizens. “Under this circumstance, no responsible management would fold their hands and watch”, he stated. The president however declared that his association was glad at the sustainable methods put in place to minimize unexpected developments. “When we are reporting such issues, we need to be mindful of the steps taken to ensure sustainability; that’s how we can be accurate and professional in our report”, he said.
Ambrose Sule consequently called on his colleagues to be fair in the coverage of the affairs of strategic departments of the nation adding that it was necessary to display patriotism at all times. “There is nothing to gain by deviating from the set standards and principles of smooth journalism practice”, he concluded. However, it was understood that the media parley stemmed from the need to adequately inform Nigerians on the complexities faced by Generating and Distributing electricity nationwide and the sustainable efforts sometimes introduced to mitigate adverse developments inimical to the well-being of the nation.