KWASU VC tasks journalists on safe environment

Against the backdrop of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) threatening the West African region, the Vice-Chancellor of Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, Professor AbdulRasheed Na’Allah, has called on media practitioners in Nigeria to curtail the spread of the disease by creating awareness on the dangers inherent in keeping unhygienic environments.

Represented by his Coordinator, Research, Industry and Community Development, Professor Funsho Oluleye, the Vice-Chancellor made the call at a Symposium and Award Ceremony which climaxed the 2014 Press Week of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), at Kingstone Grand Suites, Ilorin, on Saturday, August 9, 2014. The event, entitled “The Media and Nigeria’s Environment: An Agenda” was chaired by Professor Na’Allah’s representative.

The Vice-Chancellor said media practitioners in the country, more than ever before, were confronted with the task of setting an agenda for both the leaders and the led on the need to take pro-active measures towards tackling the growing environmental challenges such as flooding, erosion, oil spillage, deforestation, desertification and global warming, among others.

According to him, journalists should continue to play their agenda-setting role by promoting the implementation of environmental policies through massive awareness creation to bring about attitudinal change and mitigate climate change effects on the Nigerian environment.

The Vice-Chancellor added that policymakers and professionals should also collaborate with the media to achieve the set goals. He said “Changing rainfall patterns resulting in flooding and erosion have continued to pose great problems to the Nigerian farmers and deepen rural poverty,” adding that “Aside the annual rituals of rainfall prediction by the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the media also needs to step-up efforts at enlightening the public on the dangers inherent in the blockage of waterways arising from indiscriminate dumping of refuse and other activities which constitute great threats to safe environments.”

He noted that checking the incessant gas-flaring in the Niger-Delta region, and erosion causing ecological emergencies in other parts of the country is another area where the media is expected to set an agenda for the government and the public.

On his part, the Provost, College of Information and Communication Technology, KWASU, Professor Innocent Okoye said the media plays critical roles in the development of any society, thus urging the practitioners to always discharge their duties in line with their professional ethics.

The Guest Speaker at the event, Dr. Yinka Oyewo of the Department of Communication Arts, University of Ibadan, called for specialisation in Environmental Journalism and other fields by Nigerian journalists to enhance their reportorial knowledge and skills in different areas of human endeavour. The don also urged them to create more awareness on the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease to curtail its spread.

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