BY Eba Alobo
A Niger Delta based Non Government Organization, Partners for Peace (P4P) has admonished media practitioners in Cross River State to give prominence to conflict reporting in the state.
Speaking during a one day media workshop on Conflict Reporting put together by the P4P, the
State Coordinator Dr. Moses Abang stated that the the primary purpose of the NGO is to promote peace in the Niger Delta and this is achieved through tracing the root cause of the conflict. According to him, Cross River top the chart as the state with the highest communal clashes in the Niger Delta and this is a cause for concern for concern for all stakeholders. He said “We organise this media workshop because we have been looking at various communities here in Cross River where communal clashes are either not reported or under reported. One of them is Mbiabo which shares boundary with Oku Iboku in Akwa Ibom state. They have been inter-communal conflicts between both communities.”
Dr. Abang added that despite various interventions including a supreme court judgment on the issue, and an attempt by the boundary commission to demarcate the area, the conflict still persist till date. According to him “People are dying by the day in those communities due to series of attacks launched daily.” He called on the state government and representatives at the National Assembly to intervene as according to him “The community told us they need government presence.”
The coordinator advocated for demarcation of the boundary between the two communities and citing of Military barracks around the area to avert further crisis.
On his part, the guest speaker at the workshop, Mr. Efio-Ita Nyok highlighted checklists to be taken into consideration when covering conflicts. According to him, the journalist covering a conflict situation is seen as an active participant in that conflict because the way the report is presented can either escalate or deescalate the crisis. He listed some of the checklist to include “Having an understanding of the crisis, the underlying causes of the conflict, the full effects of the conflict, the source of getting your facts amongst others”.
He equally highlighted the character of conflict in Cross River as well as the elements of news.