By Ismail Abdulaziz
The media have been urged to exercise restraint in their reportage concerning the current security challenges in some parts of the country.
Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, stated this in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja.
Onanuga said that the media had the responsibility to promote laudable actions by government and make positive criticism based on the overriding national interest.
According to him, screaming headlines that paint gory pictures of the situations will only hurt the country by scaring away genuine local and foreign direct investments.
“Media reporting about cases of kidnapping, communal killings and isolated terrorism acts must show some moderation by not giving the impression that all Nigerians no longer sleep with two eyes closed or are not safe in going about their day-to-day business.
“To sell our newspapers or clickbait, we tend to exaggerate and embellish, sometimes forgetting the social responsibility of the media, not to give the impression that our country is under siege by criminals or that every nook and cranny of our country is under their stranglehold.
“One of our newspapers took this responsibility to heart in its report on the same Tuesday, making its major headline, the efforts by security agents to rein in the minority vagabonds in our midst,” he said.
The presidential aide stated that though Nigeria had yet to reach the zenith of security, it was still not the worst country in terms of insecurity.
For instance, he said that in robbery and kidnapping, Nigeria was not among the most endemic countries, adding that global listing put the country at less than one person to 100,000 persons involved in the crime.
Onanuga said: “In a report by the World Population Review, Nigeria is not among the top 10 countries in the world, with kidnapping epidemic.
“Turkey leads with 42 people kidnapped out of 100,000 people. Lebanon is second with 15 people out of 100,000 and Kuwait third with 12 out of 100,000 held in captivity.
“Canada, Belgium, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, Eswatini and United Kingdom make up the remaining top 10. Kidnapping in Nigeria is 0.334 per 100,000.
“The frightening headlines on Tuesday were based on the report by the Civil Society Joint Action Group that calls for an emergency on the security situation, surprisingly oblivious that our security agencies have been working in that spirit for a long time, since 2009.”
He called for support media support in the efforts by security agencies at nipping criminality in the bud since the beginning of insecurity in the 1990s.
“Our security agencies deserve society’s appreciation for their efforts so far in trying to nip in the bud the evils of kidnapping, banditry, communal killings and terrorism in our country.
“Their efforts, most often understated, have made our country safer, at least, than South Africa or the United States where 44,310 people were killed last year in gun violence,” he said.
The presidential aide said that government had been putting in place various kinetic and non-kinetic measures to improve security of lives and property.
“President Tinubu has been providing material support to security agencies to discharge their duties.
“In recent weeks, we have seen the police setting up a Special Intervention Squad, equipped with drones.
“The DSS has stepped up its anti-kidnapping act, rescuing 154 abducted people in the last few days.
“Last week, President Tinubu approved N50 billion as special funds to address some of the lingering security challenges in North-East. He also approved special funds to the FCT for the acquisition of equipment to track criminals,” he said.
Onanuga urged all stakeholders to complement the efforts of the national and sub-national governments in tackling insecurity in the country. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq