NOMRA-Organised Workshop Offer Journalists Tips on Covering Migration

No fewer than 15 Journalists in Lagos state, Nigeria, received valuable insights on recent migration paradigms at the national, regional and international scenes as well as an overview of leading contemporary migration-development issues in the country, at a two-day workshop organised by the Network of Migration Research on Africa (NOMRA) in partnership with the International Organisation on Migration and the European Union.

The workshop was specially organised for media practitioners to intimate them on the National Migration Policy, migration and national security issues as well as closing the gap that has remained visible in migration reporting in Nigeria.

Noting that migration is increasing in tempo and composition, Programme Officer at the International Organisation on Migration, Lily Sanya, explained that the workshop will enhance the capacity of Nigerian Journalists to maximize the recently endorsed National Migration Policy which could serve as evidence based instrument on migration reporting.

NOMRA Coordinator, Professor Aderanti Adepoju at the seminar told Journalists that the media has a big role to play in raising awareness and orienting the public on migration issues, since they are vested with the role of shaping public opinion and perception.

He noted that while Nigeria is one of the few countries that have developed a migration policy; the implementation of the policy is yet to be actualized as many are yet to be aware of its existence.

The workshop will therefore “build capacity of Nigerian journalists on migration policy and to share ideas on how to use the media to communicate migration issues and as a tool to curb irregular migration,” Professor Aderanti said.

Journalists at the workshop were trained on the nomenclatures of migration and the correct technical terms used in migration reporting.

Some of the migration issues raised at the workshop include the fact that there are no infrastructure and “government presence” in some borders and that there is need for the Nigerian government to take ownership of migration and other development issues, thereby breaking the culture of relying on funds from international development partners.

Professor Ayo Atesnuwa, a professor of Public Law at the University of Lagos walked journalists through the legal issues faced by regular and irregular migrants.

According to her, “Humans are always on the move and it is when we begin to acknowledge this that we will be able to deeply understand the issues of migration.”

“Migration is not entirely negative, it can be used for good especially for socio-economic development,” she added.

Speaking on the role of journalists, Mr Lanre Idowu, a veteran journalist and an alumnus of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, urged journalists to take up the challenge of report on migration issues affecting Nigeria, adding that reading the copy of the National Migration Policy provided to them will guide their reportage on the issue.

“You can’t share information when you come from the position of ignorance,” he said.

Prof Adepoju revealed the organizers of the workshop had met with some members of the Nigerian Guild of Editor who have promised to look favorably on migration reports when submitted as reporters feared that migration stories are often considered boring.

To address this, Prof Adepoju said the Editors promised to speak with publishers of their organisation to create a Migration Desk in Newsrooms across their Bureau and to create a reward system for the best report on migration yearly.

At the end of the workshop, journalists commit to focus on issues of migration.

Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

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