Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye writes,

You’ll find me struggling to choose between crude oil and the Nigerian population if you ever revisit 2014 and ask me about Nigeria’s most abundant endowment. Today, however, it’ll be daunting for anyone to convince me that it’s not the resilience of Nigeria’s over 200 million people, who live, one day at a time, cruising, contagiously yet painstakingly, through a sea of security and humanitarian challenges.

From terrorism and insurgency to religious and communal clashes, banditry and other unnamed woes, Nigeria’s security situation is a maze. This poignant currency breeds acute humanitarian crises that have seen millions become depressed, displaced, devastated, deformed or deceased. In the face of the government’s nonfeasance, the onus falls on the media to play town crier—reversing the role to elicit action from the revered quarters—given its power to influence public opinion and policy.

However, the media, in charlatanic hands, is the bane of our society. Hence, there’s a need for ethics that guide how information spreads. In an era rife with fallacy, these principles dignify Journalism, which, according to Professor Barbie Zelizer, is “making public that which would otherwise be private or unknown”. Thus, the role of journalism in tackling Nigeria’s security and humanitarian issues can’t be exaggerated.

Agonizingly, journalism in Nigeria is under threat. Journalists suffer harassment, intimidation and physical attacks from the masses they slave for whilst the government bends legislation like the Cybercrime Act to smother free speech and muffle dissent. This toxicity stifles free and objective critical reportage, but thanks to the resilience that precedes Nigerians and unwavering patriotism, credible journalism persists, deathless.

Primarily, ethical journalism exists to amplify the plights of Nigerians. By harnessing local languages and social media to simplify hard facts and concrete figures around security and humanitarian predicaments, journalism holds the key to awakening interest in them. Facilitating a critical understanding of the depth of these menaces across all rungs of the social ladder whilst cancelling misinformation, which can cause panic and maniacally aggravate these dangers, will lead to more collective action towards remedying them.

Similarly, journalists can keep our leadership on its toes by pressing it to acknowledge the extent of security and humanitarian hazards in Nigeria. Journalists can pressure policymakers into accountability by reporting their inactions, giving them minimal leeway as everyone knows who gets what, when, why and how.

Equally, mainstreaming Solutions Journalism is crucial to resolving these issues. Not only does it rejuvenate the hope of the masses and leaders that a safer Nigeria is feasible, but it’ll also lighten the burden on the government as working responses will cue non-state actors to contribute their quota. It can also facilitate multidisciplinary discourses around the best ways to address our security and humanitarian concerns, providing forums for practical solutions to emerge.

In conclusion, journalism is vital towards neutralizing the security and humanitarian challenges that pillage Nigeria, representing a veritable medium of raising awareness, discrediting taradiddles, driving accountability, spotlighting milestones and facilitating inclusive dialogue.

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