By Lekan Raji, Lagos
THE Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, has advocated a positive dimension to crime reporting by the Nigerian press.
The police boss appealed to the Nigerian students and journalists to shun sensationalism and avoid stigmatisation of any community when reporting crimes in the country.
Owoseni made this call on Thursday while delivering a lecture titled, “National Security: Effects, Solutions and Roles of the Citizens”, at the post graduate class of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos (UNILAG).
The commissioner, who expressed concerns over what he described as overblown reportage of crimes in the Nigeria media, stated that the kind of colouration media gave to crimes has negatively imparted on how crime is being addressed.
He noted that national security is closely linked with state and international security adding that national security is obligatory for international security to be achieved.
He said, “I understand that news in the media is about catchy headlines. Catchy headlines are good but, not at the detriment of our national security. As to how security issues are addressed, sensational headlines should not override the obligation of informing Nigerians.”
Noting that individuals have roles to play in combatting crimes, he said Nigerians have to take responsibility in their everyday and personal security life.
He lamented that Nigeria like every other country in the world, is currently faced with various security threats.
The commissioner said unemployment, religious extremism, violent secession and desire for political office for selfish gains have constituted serious threat to our national security.
“In the world today, insecurity in on the rise. It stemmed from proliferation of weapon of mass destruction, smuggling of arms to terrorize innocent citizens, natural disasters, vulnerability of national installations, cyber-attacks, wide range of organized crimes, trafficking, commercial fraud, money laundering, kidnap, pandemics, Ebola, interreligious conflict between faithful of different religions, militancy by MEND, MASSOB, IPOB, OODUA,” he stated.
Speaking on the herdsmen and pastoralists clash, Owoseni expressed hope that the media could help in curtailing crime through positive narratives and objective reportage.
He warned Nigerians against crimes, saying the use of violence to pursue political, ideological goal was an affront to the values that bind us together as Nigerians.
“Let us stand together to reaffirm our national security. Shun stigmatization of any community. Diversity should be seen as strength. Stigmatization of a particular community leads to resonation.
“The recent case of Mile 2 at Agiliti, if we do not manage them very well, it would have got worsen. The media gave us extra burden to meet northern settlers in Agege to resolve the crisis. Media gave the impression that it was an ethnic fight.
He urged government to uphold the tenets of good governance, stating that “maximizing the alternative welfare of people at all levels will reduce insecurity.”
The police CP also said government should employ decisive measures of dealing with criminals.
“In the light of that, everyone must respect the law of the land. Democracy and its doctrines, human rights, rule of law, fair hearing epitomize effective security,” he added.
Meanwhile, Owoseni pointed out that some laws regulating the way people conduct businesses needed to be reviewed in the quest to tame the tide of crimes in the country.