By Lizzy Okoji
Abuja – News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has solicited help from the Indian High Commission on staff training and development to enable it to carry out its role and strengthen the relationship between India and Nigeria.
Malam Ibrahim Mammaga, the Editor-in-Chief and Acting Managing Director of NAN, made the appeal in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mammaga had led a delegation of management staff of the agency on a courtesy visit to Mr Abhay Thakur, India’s High Commissioner to Nigeria.
Mammaga said a strong partnership between NAN and the Press Trust of India, India’s news agency, as well as training opportunities for NAN staff in Indian institutions would boost the efficiency of the workers in information dissemination.
The visit was in line with the management’s desire to develop the capacities of staff to meet the challenges of modern journalism.
He expressed appreciation to the High Commission for its long standing cooperation with NAN through training programmes for NAN staff but noted that such opportunities were reducing in recent past.
“This visit is, first of all, to introduce ourselves, the new management staff of the agency to the High Commission for strengthened relationship.
“We thank you for your previous assistance, for the past years that we have been benefiting from training programmes in India through the High Commission where journalists go on journalism trainings.
“However, in the past three to four years, the numbers of slots for NAN staff participating in the training reduced drastically.
“Previously, there were opportunities for NAN Staff from the Editorial, Technical, ICT and Admin departments.
“We would appreciate if the agency would be able to benefit from such opportunities in the coming year,” Mammaga said.
He also solicited the High Commission’s intervention in further strengthening the partnership between NAN and the Indian News Agency for a robust platform to exchange news.
He explained that this would further strengthen bilateral relations between India and Nigeria as both countries would get first-hand news about each other.
Thakur expressed appreciation for the visit and described it as very important considering the significant role of the agency in mass communication.
Thakur said that the visit would also sustain the relationship of the High Commission with the agency and recalled his earlier visit to NAN headquarters.
The High Commissioner said that he would do all within his powers to revive the training opportunities for NAN staff from institutions in India.
“The training opportunities are open to everyone and so we would encourage NAN staff to fill up applications as soon as possible; this creates an opportunity for them to be shortlisted.
“The High Commission would do all in its powers to draw the attention of the institutions to the applications.
“The problem is that of the so many institutions available, few institutions are chosen by applicants and when the slots are exhausted, other applicants would not be able to make it through.
“However, slots for other institutions are left unfilled,” Thakur explained.
Thakur said that the High Commission had also informed news agencies in India on partnership with NAN, following previous discussions with the agency and was expecting positive response.
He also called on Nigerian journalists to be well informed about the Indian Constitution, laws and other policies to avoid misinformation. (NAN)