For the first time in four years, the Borno State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists held its 2014 to 2017 combined Press Week in Maiduguri during which the union conferred NUJ Merit awards to the Dangote Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Defence, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR and three media organizations for their different roles in supporting ongoing reconstruction of Communities and livelihoods in Northeast, Nigeria.
The awards where in line with the theme of the Press Week which was ‘the role of the media in Post Conflict Rebuilding of communities, livelihoods and safe Re-settlement of victims in Northeast, Nigeria”.
Dressed in NUJ’s customized attires for the week, Governor Kashim Shettima and his Deputy, Mamman Durkwa presented the awards alongside NUJ’S National President, Abdulwaheed Odusile and the Borno State Chairman of the NUJ, Babasheik Haruna. Described by participants as a landmark event, Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali, Chief Executive officer of Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssofou, National President of the NUJ, Abdulwaheed Odusile and representative of the UNHCR where in attendance to receive the NUJ Merit Awards. Three media houses, Vanguard Newspapers, the Borno Radio Television and Daily Post online were honored for dedicating highest news coverage to reconstruction of communities and livelihoods for the print, broadcast and online media categories.
”Using the reports and sound judgment of our members numbering over 200 resident journalists in Borno State, the Dangote Foundation is winner of the NUJ Merit Award for making the highest private sector intervention on reconstruction of the northeast, Nigeria from 2014 to August, 2017.
From the international community, we figured that different organs of the UN and other Partners are doing so much on humanitarian intervention. However, on the area of reconstruction of the the northeast, Nigeria, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees has so far made the highest foreign intervention through efforts to create permanent shelters. This makes the UNHCR a winner of the NUJ Merit Award. We recognized that the interventions being made by the Dangote Foundation and the UNHCR could not have happened without peace building efforts of the Nigerian Military and multi-national armed forces. The armed forces liberated communities and they give security cover to all aspects of reconstruction. The Nigeria Military is coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Defence. At the same time, Nigeria’s involvement in all regional and global cooperation on the fight against Boko Haram is also coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Defence. This explains why the Honourable Minister regularly embarks on strategic foreign trips to explore areas of cooperation that is helping the country. The role being made by the Federal Ministry of Defence makes it winner of the NUJ Merit Award” head of the award team, Umar Tahir explained while giving his background to the award.
Before the award, there was a lecture titled, ” Reconstruction of communities and livelihoods in conflict & post conflict situation: The journey so far in Northeast, Nigeria” while a Professor of Mass Communication, Danjuma Gambo made academic contribution on the role of journalists in post conflict rebuilding of communities.
Hundreds of journalists attended the event which was one of the activities lined up for a week long event that began last Friday.
Governor Shettima, in his remarks, paid glowing to journalists working in Borno State whom he said, defied threats and fears in filing reports that attracted world attention to the insurgency in the northeast, particularly in Borno State.