28 November 2012

Nigeria: Obaigbena Assures Information Volunteers of Protection

Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, Tuesday assured Nigerians of their protection on any information volunteered to the media.

Obaigbena, who spoke at a workshop titled: "The Dynamics of Cashless Economy and Emerging Methods of Financial Crimes," organised by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force in Lagos, said those who volunteer information to journalists do it because they know they would be protected.

Represented by the Managing Director of the newspaper, Mr. Eniola Bello, the Chairman/Editor-in-Chief urged Nigerians not to be afraid to volunteer information to journalists because that remained the only way the country could move forward.

Obaigbena, who is the President of Newspaper Proprietors' Association of Nigeria (NPAN), said journalists would continue to check and cross-check information at their disposal before getting them published to enable them balance their reports.

Other personalities present at the event include the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; Director, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Juliet Ibakuku, represented by Muhammed Abubakar, and Justice Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Also speaking, Mr. Oluwaseyi Oduyela of the African Interest Online, said the growth of the mass media had increased debate about the degree to which technologies could manipulate the perception of certain events and the people involved in them.

Oduyela noted that accuracy, fairness and timeliness are the most important aspects of sound and credible journalism.

"Journalists are fact finders and need to get facts that make a story relevant and interesting to readers," he said.

He also said the role of press critical in promoting good governance and curbing corruption, adding that the critical element of the country's anti-corruption programme should be the media, while the effectiveness of the media depended on access to information and freedom of expression.

Speaking on money laundering, Director of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Juliet Ibekaku, who was also represented by Muhammed Abubakar, noted that one of the most serious effects of money laundering is felt in the private sector.

"Money launderers are known to use front companies or business that appear legitimate and engage in legitimate business," he said.

He posited that little enforce of laws, weak penalties, provisions has made it difficult to confiscate or freeze assets related to money laundering, adding that if money laundering is prevalent, there would be more corruption because the criminals would try bribe the government officials, lawyers and employees of financial or non financial institutions so that they can continue to run their dirty business.

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