Analysis : Customs training of maritime Journalists on responsible reportage

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(Analysis by Udeme Clement):

The just concluded training of maritime Journalists by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), in Lagos, which took place on April 7 – 8, 2021, at Customs Training College, Ikeja, Lagos, was a huge success.

The training had a unique theme: ‘Responsible Reporting Imperative for National Security’. Journalists, who participated were drawn from print, electronic and online media organisations.

The exercise was declared open by the Coordinator of Customs in Zone ‘A’, Lagos, ACG Kaycee Ezekezie, who urged maritime Journalists reporting Customs activities to be objective and always take cognisance of national security in giving information to the public. The ACG was represented by
Comptroller Sani Madugu, from the Zonal office.

Five lectures were presented during the first day of the training. These include
‘The Language of International Trade’ presented by Customs Deputy National Public Relations Officer, DC Timi Bomodi.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Leye Ajayi, delivered the second lecture on; ‘Media Relations/Best Practices.
He stressed the need for Journalists to be timely, objective and accurate in their news reporting techniques.

The third lecture was handled by
AC Anthony Ayalogu, who spoke on; ‘AFCFTA- Understanding free trade and challenges of regulation.
The fourth lecture was; ‘Curbing the menace of Fake News’, presented by Mr Emeka Okoro, who mentioned various ways to combat fake news in the society.
The fifth paper on; ‘e-Customs – The future of trade facilitation’. was presented by Comptroller Kunle Oleyede, who pointed out clearly that Customs modernisation is NOT concession, as some people are speculating.

The first day ended with vote of thanks by Customs National Public Relations Officer, DC Joseph Attah. DC Attah, who gave a brief summary of the entire programme for the day, thanked CGC Hameed Ali for approving the training, stressing that the CGC is continuously reforming the Service for greater productivity.

During the second day of the training, three lectures were presented. The first one focused on; ‘ Crisis Communication’. The speaker gave useful tips on how to handle crisis communication in an organisation to protect national interest.

In his assertion, DC Attah emphasised that crisis defers from one organisation to another. As such, Public Relations Officers should be able to address a crisis situation based on peculiar circumstances.

DC K. I. Adeola (Mrs), presented the second lecture on; ‘Coordinated Border Management – Imperative for National Security’. She emphasised the need for strong cooperation and synergy among security agencies as important factors in Border management.

The third lecture for day-2, was delivered by DC Timi Bomodi, on; ‘Import/Export trade -The Role of Customs’. He explained that Customs is working assiduously to facilitate trade, that importers and agents should ensure honest declaration, accurate documentation to fast track cargo clearance from the ports.

After all the lectures, over one hour was used for interaction, questions and answers among all the Resource Persons and Participants.
Even the Commandant of Customs Training College, Comptroller S. Kebbi, participated actively in the interactive segment of the programme, where Customs PROs and Journalists were given the opportunity to express their views freely.

On the whole, eight (8) lectures were presented. The papers were well researched to meet the target audience. The exercise ended with certificates presentation to participants.

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