By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The Nigerian Air Force has solicited collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on nationalistic reportage and adherence to the ethics of journalism.
The Assistant National Secretary of NUJ, Mr. Joseph Midat, said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Midat quoted the Director, Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, as making the request when he paid a courtesy visit to the NUJ President, Mr. Chris Iziguzo in Abuja.
Gabkwet said that the Nigerian Air Force would like to join hands with the union to build a good image for the country.
According to Gabkwet, journalists and the military are working towards the same goal and that is to improve the safety of the citizens.
“This is through informing them on what the military and government are doing for the good of the nation.
“We are doing all these to ensure that we remain safe and that our citizens can go about doing their normal day-to-day activities without fear or any form of confrontation.
“I think that the interface with important stakeholders like NUJ, NIPR, and others as it relates to image building and keeping our citizens informed is very important,” he said
According to him, there are citizens that don’t know what the military stands for and what they do; thus, partnership to help us sell ideas to them will help correct some misinformation, misconceptions, and wrong perceptions.
“ I can assure you that a lot is being done in the Air Force to see that our citizens are safe and get back to their farms, businesses, and travels without fear,’’ Gebkwet affirmed.
The Air Force Spokesman also called for support, adding that his doors were open 247 for advice and suggestions on how the force could improve in areas of information dissemination and responsibilities.
He explained that the Military, Journalists, and citizens were stakeholders and thus should work together in the fight against insurgency.
“The necessary essence of the journalism profession must be adhered to. To be candid, sometimes, we receive reports that make us think that some journalists are representing a particular section or group.
“It can be disheartening, because, if people are misinformed then there are bound to be a problem, because, some people will just swallow such wrong information with verification.
“So, please, we need to ensure that we stick to the ethics of the profession. Try to balance whatever you are writing. Reach out to us anytime you are in doubt.
“However, I will try to be open to you, because, truth is sacrosanct. I look forward to a harmonious relationship with the NUJ President and all journalists across the country,’’ Gebkwet said.
In his response, Iziguzo commended Gebkwet and the Air Force for the visit.
Iziguzo said these were trying times for the country and as such, it has become imperative that all strategic stakeholders should team up and work together and build the nation of our dream.
“On the issue of insurgency, Journalists, the military, and all citizens are not immune from it. The business of security is everybody’s responsibility.
“As the military are doing their own, Journalists have their roles to play and if we continue to spread fake news, there will be problems in the system.
“However, I am happy that you said you will always tell us the truth because, over time, journalists find it difficult to get information from the military to balance their stories.
“I assure you of our readiness to partner with the Nigerian Air Force, Army, and others. We appreciate all your efforts, if not, by now we would have become refugees in other countries,’’ Iziguzo said.
The NUJ President appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary facilities and equipment to help the Nigerian Air Force and others discharge their responsibilities.
According to him, the government needs to rise to the occasion and take care of men at the firing line, or else their morale and level of patriotism would considerably drop.
“We know that our military is doing their best to save the country from insurgency, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminal elements. We appreciate you.
“On behalf of about 50,000 journalists in the country, I want to inform you that we are ready to collaborate with you to balance our stories as it relates to your activities in the country,’’ Iziguzo said.