In Kano state, everything is being done, including media collaboration, to frontally attack Covid-19 pandemic currently ravaging the globe. Writes BASHIR MOHAMMED.
Corona Virus or Covid-19, as it is popularly known, is a global pandemic that had for centuries been predicted by Michel Nostradamus, the man who saw tomorrow, where he postulated that when it comes, it would have the destructive effect of killing world economy in addition to consuming thousands of lives.
However, the worst pandemic as posited by Norton Fox of Cambridge University had dawned on mankind thousands years before Christ, with such epidemics taking a disastrous tolls on humanity, leading to loss of lives across different continent of the globe, thereby making world’s renowned scientists to lose their grip in the field of science towards frantic search for a lasting solution.
According to the renowned academic, the world had witnessed the emergence of the much-dreaded Cocolitzli epidemic that had ravaged some parts of Mexico and other notable countries in the Western Hemisphere, claiming about 15 million lives with blacks leading. The incident, which occurred in 1343, destroyed parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, claiming the lives of about 200 million people.
Covid-19 has too much media hype
Corona Virus or Covid-19, according to Fox, is the least among such worst global pandemics with infinitesimal casualties compared to the 20 worst pandemics, only that it had come at a time of advanced digital communication, where it is receiving excessive media spin from renowned International media outlets out of proportion.
He said with the world’s total population estimated to have reached eight billion at present, the number of casualties recorded is not as high as the ones recorded in the pandemics witnessed by mankind over many centuries taking into cognisance how human lives were been exterminated with alarming ferocity.
However, with the Corona virus having a domino effect in a country like Nigeria, the Nigerian government had taken some decisive measures both preventive and precautionary aimed at nipping its spread in the bud in order to save the lives of millions of people from being infected despite the fact some of the people already infected have refused to be quarantined or self-isolated.
Governors in various states of the federation have also swung into action by taking preventive and precautionary measures, engaged the services of medical personnel in ensuring strict compliance even in the face of recalcitrant posture adopted by those who do not believed in the existence of the virus.
Kano gov’t efforts
For Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Covid-19 is real and a global catastrophy that has to be fought to a standstill for the people of the state to be saved from being exterminated. To that extent, he introduced series of measures ranging from equipping the Yargaya Isolation Centre to launching an appeal fund in addition to effecting the blanket closure of boarders to avoid being infiltrated by unwanted persons.
Blueprint investigation reveals that Ganduje even visited such border areas to monitor compliance and take stock of how security agents drafted to the areas are conducting their assignment knowing that some persons can bribe their way into the restricted areas.
This move appeared to yield positive result as in one of those visits, he intercepted a lorry conveying some unknown people into Kano. He ordered the driver of the heavy truck to return to its destination, while other commuters and unauthorised motorists who violated the order were also turned back.
It is an indisputable fact that with the eruption of Corana virus in some parts of the world and in Nigeria in particular, Kano according to the state commissioner for health, Dr Aminu Ibrahim Tsanyawa, has not recorded a single case of the virus but had tested nine suspected cases which were eventually negative.
The NUJ collaboration
Such a remarkable feat was also replicated by the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) state council under the leadership of Malam Abbas Ibrahim who convened a one- day stakeholders workshop in order to brainstorm on how the pandemic is being reported by the media locally in Kano.
Speaking during the workshop, Comrade Ibrahim, said that there was no better time for such training than now when the world is battling the pandemic.
According to him, “The media needs to be equipped with the knowledge of how to shape reports and disseminate reliable information by doing away with the spread of fake news in these trying times.”
Also speaking, the commissioner for Information, Muhammad Garba, commended the efforts of NUJ for organising the programme.
Garba, reiterated government‘s commitments towards ensuring the media is given the necessary support, especially during the pandemic where residents would solely rely on the media for information. Similarly in her remark, chairman of Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), Hajiya Sa’a Ibrahim, charged news managers to continue to develop ways of engaging the people on necessary measures to be taken to prevent Covid-19 pandemic.
Ibrahim, who is also the director general Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV), also called for more of such training.
Also, the managing director of Vision FM Kano, Adamu Ladan, taught participants ways of reporting the pandemic professionally.
According to him, “Media professionals need to look back at past disasters and provide background information through research and draw lessons from other news rooms, governments and so forth to be able to learn from them.
“They need to be educated to be able to educate others; for that reason, high-level professionalism needs to be put in place for the desired goals to be achieved,” he said.
Representative from the state Ministry of Health, Dr Bashir Lawan testified that the media is fully prepared in disseminating useful information to the people on covid-19.
He shed more light on the scientific nature of viruses including the Corona virus.
Lawan further commended the media and urged them to continue the good work of informing their audiences on the preventive measures to curtail spread of the virus.With the NUJ initiative on effective coverage of the pandemic eliciting positive reactions from notable stakeholders and respected opinion leaders in Kano, it was their unanimous contention that the responsibility of ensuring effective reportage of the pandemic lies at the shoulders of the media managers for greater results.
Other stakeholders comment According to a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano Alhaji Musa Danbirni, the media is doing well in reporting the virus through its consistent and objective reportage devoid of acceding to primordial considerations. He added that it is only when ethics of the profession are flouted with impunity that a great damage would be inflicted.
“I have been personally monitoring the conduct of reporters and media managers in Kano in the wake of the advent of Covid-19 pandemic and I am absolutely satisfied with their reportage. They are being circumspect and always guarding against inflaming unnecessary passion. This is what is expected from respected practitioners of the pen-pushers.”
“Even though it is instinctive for selfish reporters to play into the hands of those that can allow themselves to be used as cannon-fodders in order to score some cheap political capital, in Kano we have not witnessed such ugly trend to some extent. Our reporters and working journalists in the field should be commended for a job well done,” he stated.
Speaking in the same vein, a renowned Kano-based media guru, Malam Shehu Isah Bakori, said organising the one-day training workshop was a right decision in the right direction as it was conceived to set the record straight in order to avoid misinforming the general public. He posited that it would be fool hardy for one to sensationalise the issue with no justifiable reason.
According to him, no one can be secured without the media rendering its utmost contribution in emergency situation, adding that with reporters and media managers knowing their onion, the road to achieving the goal of fighting the pandemic would never be thorny.