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Reportage of security situation in Nigeria not research based, says former Sierra Leonean Minister


LAGOS – Prof. Cecil Blake, a former Minister of Information, Sierra Leone, said on Friday that the reportage of the security crisis in Nigeria by communication scholars and professionals was not based on research.

Blake, who lectures in the Department of Mass Communication, Covenant University Ota, Ogun, made the observation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

He spoke with NAN after delivering a lecture at the 5th empowerment series organised by the Association of Communications Scholars and Professionals of Nigeria (ACSPN).

He said that the focus of his lectures at different fora has been to interrogate the status of communication scholarship and profession against the backdrop of the war situation in the country.

“The focus of the lecture was interrogating the status of communication scholarship and the profession against the backdrop of the war situation we have now, dominated by violence, terrorism, the emergence of non-state actors.

“And so we are asking the question: are we being prepared to understand research and report on what is going on right now as communicators.

“My position is that we are not prepared and there is need for us to see how best to correct it; to bring us back into a situation where we could understand what is going on right now and report on it adequately.

“The key suggestions are that we have to revisit the curriculum and there is need for flexibility to be given to the academics to redesign their curriculum in such a way that it will incorporate those aspects that will prepare us to address the issues of the current situation.

“And we spoke about the need to incorporate inter-cultural communications as an important component in the curriculum for degrees in communication, journalism as well as rhetorical theories and analyses.

“These are two areas that are very weak in the curricula that you find in many African countries.

“So you really need to try to redress the situation of ill-preparedness by making two of those courses required in addition to all the others that students have been taking.

“It will enhance our abilities to contextualise our ability to do research and in turn prepare people to get into the profession.“

Blake also said that the Nigerian media needed to do more in-depth analysis of the security situation in its reportage.

“I cannot say authoritatively that the media has not done a good job.

“There are aspects of reportage that I have seen that are good, but then there are other aspects that are underrepresented, primarily as a result of not getting in-depth into some of the types of things that Boko Haram is concerned with and the manner in which those things are interpreted and reported.

“So, there is a degree of necessity to get more in-depth into the analysis of the crisis so as to capture what it will take to bring about a resolution.“(NAN)

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