• Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

CISLAC Empowers Journalists For Enhanced Oversight, Anti-Corruption Reporting In Defense Sector


Oct 1, 2023

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has taken a significant step towards strengthening the capabilities of journalists in reporting on the defense and security sector.

The initiative comes as part of a one-day Media Dialogue event held in Abuja, which focused on the theme of “Effective Oversight and Defense Anti-Corruption Reportage.”

Bertha Ogbimi, a Senior Programme Person in Peace and Security at CISLAC, emphasized the critical role journalists play in shedding light on the defense sector’s activities.

During the event, she stressed the importance of equipping journalists with the skills and knowledge necessary to pose the right questions, thereby ensuring the public remains well-informed.

Ogbimi pointed out that the primary objective of the workshop was to empower journalists with the tools to exercise effective oversight over the defense sector.

She underlined the significance of holding the sector accountable and fostering transparency, particularly in cases where best practices may be lacking.

This initiative reflects CISLAC’s commitment to promoting responsible journalism and ensuring that the defense and security sector remains open to scrutiny, contributing to anti-corruption efforts and good governance in the country.

By investing in the professional development of journalists, CISLAC is poised to make a lasting impact on the quality and depth of reporting on defense-related matters, ultimately benefitting the Nigerian public.

”Nigeria is bedevilled by multi dimensional security challenges and because of these, a lot of allocations have been launched into the defence and security sector.

”One would expect that normally, with the amount of monies being channelled to the defence and security sector, the issues pertaining to insecurity would have been addressed.

“However, unfortunately, we see an upsurge in these challenges. As a matter of fact, a particular area called conflict entrepreneurship is booming.

“So, you begin to wonder, why are we getting a counter reaction when we are putting in so much money.

“Sometimes you get to talk with security personnel, and they tell you that they do not have what it takes to challenge armed opposition groups.”

Ogbimi added that although a lot of money was allocated in the defence and security budgets and allocations but the welfare of security personnel has remained a challenge.

“So some questions need to be asked, because the money is our taxpayers money and so we need some answers.

“We are not saying that the security operations and procurements and the finances of security institutions should be made completely bare

“We recognise the fact that there is such a thing as natural security, we are all patriotic citizens, we cannot bare our military in the public.

“What are those information that are not detrimental to national security that could be made available for citizens to truly understand where their taxpayers monies are going?

Ogbimi emphasized that, considering the escalating insecurity instead of its reduction, it is imperative for journalists to seek answers to pressing questions.

She asserted that doing so would enable stakeholders in the defense and security sector to fulfill their roles and responsibilities effectively, as they would be aware of the scrutiny they are under.

This, she believed, would contribute to improving the overall security situation in Nigeria.

During his presentation on the topic of “Good Practices in Defence and Security Investigative Reporting,” Mr. Senator Iroegbu urged journalists to be mindful of their mission.

He stressed that investigative journalism plays a pivotal role in fostering transparency, raising awareness, instigating reforms, and deterring misconduct.

Furthermore, he encouraged journalists to maintain high ethical standards in their work and consistently pursue the truth. Mr. Iroegbu called for immediate efforts to enhance the capacity of journalists and media professionals.

He underscored the urgency of equipping journalists and media practitioners with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively oversee the security sector.

“To hold the security sector accountable, journalists must be adequately trained in understanding the intricacies of this complex domain. This entails specialized training and continuous capacity building.”

The event underscored the importance of journalist specialization in bolstering the efficacy of security sector oversight and underscored the critical role of General Defense Information (GDI) expertise in achieving this objective.

Also, there was a call for the government to embark on security sector reforms aimed at tackling the issue of secrecy within the sector.

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