By Mnena Iyorkegh
Nigerian Journalists have been enjoined to protect the rights of Women and people with disabilities through their reportage.
Stakeholders on Gender Advocacy made the call at an inclusive investigation training on Accountability in governance for reporters and Editors, organised by Gender Accountability and Inclusivity in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of Gender Strategy Advancement (GSAI), Ms. Adora Onyechere said the training focused on advocacy and inclusion, and the relevance of data in reporting gender equality to give the issue the wider space it deserves.
Onyechere said; “One of the key understandings is to empower reporters and get them to understand the ability to be inclusive, to also remind the media that without inclusive reportage we can not truly have the democracy that we yearn for. But most important is to have women with disabilities in the room shaping the narrative themselves and reminding them of how storytelling should be done regarding issues concerning them. For us, it is a reminder and a wake-up call and the training is to open the doors and let conversation be penetrated. We want to encourage the media to see the need for inclusivity in their storytelling to pass the message to their newsroom and to have people within the media to remember that Without an inclusive reporting and editorial intervention, we will not be able to tell our narrative holistically. These people are human first so they have human rights. They have to be deliberate efforts to re-engage and learn and relearn.”
The Chairman Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ, Osaretin Osadebamwen urged participants to bring out issues that negatively affect women and report what is right without being antagonistic.
He said; “The sessions are skewed to open your eyes and storytelling mind to see the lapses in genuinely designed policies and programs of government national or subnational that would need to be tweaked for good. You will not be asked to become antagonistic to the government but you will be carefully pointing out some issues that create a ceiling to better performance of the woman in your respective area of human endeavour. It is all about calling attention to these issues to be dismantled or improved on. This is our simple task and we hope to do this in our storytelling after today’s session.”
He was represented by the Vice Chairman of the Council Mr. Timothy Choji.
In a related development, the Project Assistance Gender Accountability and Inclusivity in Nigeria (GAIN), Ms. Oyinkepreye Koufa urged journalists to step in to help strive for a world where gender is no longer a barrier to success.
“Through these collective efforts, we aim to ensure that gender accountability takes centre stage. We will achieve this by reporting on stories that shine a spotlight on disparities, discrimination, and injustices faced by marginalised communities. By amplifying these narratives, we can challenge societal norms, break down barriers, and inspire action toward a fairer and more inclusive world. The journey ahead is challenging, but it promises to have a lasting impact. We are here to make a difference, and your dedication to this cause is greatly appreciated.
“Together, as journalists and media professionals, we can create a more equitable future, where gender accountability is not just an aspiration but a reality. We urge all of you to stand with us, as we strive for a world where gender is no longer a barrier to success, where opportunities are accessible to all, and where inclusivity is the norm,” She Koufa said.
While Speaking on Disability inclusion and women’s challenges, Ms. Susan Kelechi, stressed the need for Free Mobility for persons with disabilities, especially with the removal of fuel subsidies, with a call for five percent of allocation in every workforce to be given to people with disabilities.
Ms Kelechi identified the lack of representation and accessibility for Women With Disabilities in the Workplace as one of the major factors responsible for discrimination.
One of the resource persons, Mr. Dele Atumbi, in a paper presentation entitled Gender Equality, the Benchmark for Constitutional Democracy, expressed concern about poverty among women.
He said that gender equality should be made a human rights issue, calling for Concerted and coordinated efforts to protect women.
Mr Atuumbi further urged journalists to commence concerted advocacy on the implementation of the constitutional provision that gives protection to women.
One of the facilitators, Mr Amos Dunia who spoke on Discourse Governance and Citizens: The Missing Link, the Opportunity: expressed concern that Journalists are no longer critical in reporting national issues, charging them to always ensure their stories are balanced and free from bias and sentiments.
Participants at the training promised to go back and put all that they learnt from the training into practice, to have better reportage on gender and inclusion issues.