The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi K. Wabote, has urged the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) to help the nation in weeding out bad eggs in the journalism profession.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting with GOCOP members in Lagos on Thursday, February 17, 2022, Wabote noted that GOCOP, as a professional body, has a huge responsibility to condemn and weed out the bag eggs in the profession and Nigeria’s society generally.
According to him, some of the online media platforms are undermining the government’s noble intentions of bringing in technocrats and professionals to serve as appointees because of the targeted and unwarranted attack against these persons under the cloak of investigative journalism, thereby tarnishing the image of this wonderful profession.
Personally, Wabote said, he believes that the social media space and online media should not be gagged by laws but must be regulated in such a manner that encourages the freedom of expression enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“The free exchange of ideas should be allowed to blossom. However, citizens must not take the liberty to libel or slander one another,” he said.
On the journey of local content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB noted that, prior to the adoption of local content, the Nigerian oil and gas industry was characterised by revenue focus with little emphasis on in-country value addition, whereas witnessing a massive capital flights of over $380 billion and an estimated 2 million job losses over a 50-year period, even as the local content in the oil and gas industry was less than 5 per cent.
In addition, he said that the initial directives by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on local content policies in the industry were resisted, especially the 16 and 23 directives of 2005 and 2006 respectively.
These challenges paved the way for the establishment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (NOGICD) which was signed into law on April 22, 2010 by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The key thrusts of the NOGICD Act, he said, include to maximise utilisation of Nigerian resources, that is, goods, services and assets’ participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas activities; attract investments to the Nigeria oil and gas industry; and link oil and gas sector to other sectors of the economy.
Wabote pointed out that the Nigerian Content imperative is a journey, and a marathon for that matter, stressing that they need all to join forces with NCDMB and government to pursue this cause in ensuring that the benefits of the oil and gas industry is retained maximally in Nigeria.
He applauded the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers for the support provided to the board in the last five years, asserting: “I do not take your support for granted.”
Wabote reiterated the need for media practitioners, especially in the online media space, to self-regulate and checkmate their colleagues who have deployed their platforms to propagate falsehood and perpetrate extortionist practice.
“As you are aware, I dragged one of such platforms, Pointblank News, to court in the United States and I am determined to pursue the case to its logical conclusion,” he said.