By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Bayo Onanuga, has pledged to support the Civil Society for Ethics and Values Development Initiative, on its proposed national summit on ethics and values.
Onanuga made the pledge on Thursday in Abuja, when members of the group led by the Clerk of the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values visited him.
He said that NAN would offer assistance to the organisation to pursue its agenda in the area of news coverage and dissemination of its activities to the grassroots.
Onanuga, however, expressed worries that the NGO was pushing for establishment of Agency for National Ethics and Values Compliance, stating that creating too many institutions could create more problems of governance.
“We are ready to partner with you, we are ready to offer whatever assistance that we can offer that is within our own mandate, which is to report news and events, take it to all Nigerians within and outside the country.
“What we have is service and we will be there to support you and your NGO in pursuing your agenda.
“I am just worried as a Nigerian that why are you setting up an agency on ethics when we have agencies like the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
“There are whistle blowers like the EFFC, ICPC, Public Complaints Commission and so on.
“I am worried as a Nigerian because I tend to think that the country is wasting a lot of energy in creating so many institutions, so many agencies.
“People say that Nigeria is the most governed country in the world in terms of structure.
“At the end of the day you found out that we still have challenges in terms of governance why are there too many structures governing us,’’ he said.
Earlier, Mr Tajudeen Toyin-Oke, Secretary-General of the NGO, said they were in NAN to seek its support and partnership considering the fact that the organisation was embarking on project of national interest.
Toyin-Oke urged the agency to consider creating a special desk for news and opinion on national ethics and values as well as assigning a correspondent to give them nationwide coverage.
He also requested for a space on NAN website to assist them to advertise their upcoming national summit.
Toyin-Oke disclosed that the NGO was currently partnering with the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, ethics and Values to facilitate a national summit.
He said the summit was in response to the current agitation for restructuring, farmer/herdsman clashes, insurgency and other threats to national unity.
According to him, unity is becoming a scarce commodity among the country’s diverse peoples as consequence of the collective failure to uphold our national ethics.
“This project of Important National Interest (INI) can succeed if given a nationwide visibility, we therefore humbly request for your support and partnership.
“Consider and if deemed fit create a special desk for news and opinion on National Ethics and Values; assign a correspondent to give us nationwide visibility via newspapers, electronic media and bloggers.
Toyin-Oke said the NGO was established by the stakeholders of National Ethics and Values Compliance Office (NEVACO) as a platform to support the National Agency for Ethics and Values Bill, 2016. (NAN)