Maritime Reporters Renew Commitment As UN MMaritime Reporters Renew Commitment As UN Marks World Oceans Dayarks World Oceans Day

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the World Oceans Day last Wednesday, journalists in Rivers State have pledged to step up commitment in reportage of the maritime sector, with particular emphasis on safety of the oceans.

Speaking at the Ernest Ikoli Press Center, Moscow Road in Port Harcourt during the celebration, the journalists said the event served to sensitize media practitioners in the state, to interact with industry players, so as to set a new agenda for the maritime sector reporting in the Niger Delta region.

Under the aegis of Energy and Maritime Reporters (EMR), Chairman of the body, Mr. Martins Giadom expressed readiness in their resolve to make bigger impact in the maritime industry.

“EMR is our own attempt to create specialization in journalism practice in the Niger Delta.  We sit in the hub of oil/gas industry and stand at the gateway to the ocean through the Gulf of Guinea, yet, we hardly lead in the narrative and coverage of the two critical sectors that carry Nigeria on their shoulders.  With encouragement from some top media gurus in the state, we have stepped out to take the bull by the horn”, Giadom said.

He said the group has made huge impact by mounting seminars and making visits to relevant organizations, adding that EMR has also brought maritime issues in the Niger Delta to the fore, and would continue to do so.

Mr. Giadom noted that although the theme of this year World Ocean Day is ‘Revitalization and Collective Action for the Ocean’, it found it apposite to give a sub-theme, ‘Wealth in the Ocean: A new Agenda’, considering the enormous resources deposited under water.

He praised the UN for giving attention to the ocean, believed to cover 71 percent of the surface of the earth, but regretted that people of the Niger Delta are oblivious of the fact, a development, he said, that had spurred EMR into action.

In his goodwill message at the event, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Rivers State Council, Mr. Job Stanley Job commended the EMR for its specialty role in covering the maritime sector.

The Rivers NUJ Chairman who described the ocean as one of the richest places on earth, urged the group to wage war against environmental pollution which is threatening to destroy the ocean.

“Maritime reporters should take the responsibility to inform the people of the social and economic importance of the ocean, as a source of labour to reduce unemployment in the society”, he said.

Chairman of the occasion, Chief (Sir) Ernest Chinwo, in his speech urged media practitioners to take maritime journalism as this will impact positively on the nation’s economy.

He added that as key players in the economic development of the world, maritime reporters should create online blogs where reports would be read by those living abroad.

Guest lecturer at the event, Chief (Dr) Emi Membere-Otaji in his presentation, revealed that the maritime sector presents a paradigm shift in the extractive industries because of the abundant deposit of resources in the ocean.  He appealed to journalists to draw attention to the benefits and threats to the ocean.

Membere-Otaji, a maritime executive and former Commissioner in Rivers State, promised to partner with the EMR to initiate an annual maritime quiz competition among secondary schools in the state.

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