Nigeria committed to take-off of new UNESCO Institute – Idris

The Federal Government has restated its commitment to the timely establishment of UNESCO Category II Institute for Media and Information Literacy (MIL) in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris stated this on Tuesday during a bilateral meeting with the UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Dr Tawfik Jelassi, on the sidelines of the 42nd UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France.

Nigeria’s pledge to establish and host the institute emerged from the 2022 UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Week, hosted by Nigeria, in October 2022, in Abuja, and endorsed by a Resolution of the 216th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board, in May 2023.

Also present at the Bilateral Meeting, which held at the UNESCO headquarters, was Nigeria’s Ambassador, Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Dr Hajo Sani.

Idris, who affirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the vision and ideals of UNESCO, said that while the country is preparing to step down from the Intergovernmental Council of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), after six years on the Council, it is at the same time making a bid for election into the Intergovernmental Council of the Information for all Programme (IFAP).

The minister expressed his determination to ensure that Nigeria benefits from all existing opportunities in the UNESCO Communications and Information Sector, including the development of community radio, which is one of UNESCO’s ongoing priorities.

“I’m very pleased that my trip to Paris has been very productive, with this meeting. This is a sector that I am deeply passionate about.

“I have always said that when I am done as Minister, I will be returning to the media space, which is my home. I therefore have a responsibility to make it better, and UNESCO will get my full support and cooperation”.

He said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration accorded priority to restoring trust and credibility to government communications in Nigeria as well as kickstarting a national conversation about Nigerian values and identity inline with national reorientation campaign.

The Minister also expressed gratitude to Amb. Sani for her diligent representation of Nigeria’s interests at UNESCO, and the key role she played in facilitating Nigeria’s hosting of the 2022 UNESCO Media and Information Literacy Week, and the plans for Nigeria to host the first UNESCO MIL Institute in the world.

Responding, the UNESCO Assistant Director-General, Dr Jelassi, commended Nigeria’s active participation in UNESCO, and pledged to continue to support the country to take full advantage of all opportunities for the development of its information and communication space.

He outlined UNESCO’s ongoing work in various areas aimed at promoting press freedom around the world, supporting the development of community radio, and the ongoing work to harmonise national efforts to fight misinformation, disinformation and hate speech.

He disclosed that UNESCO has just launched a report titled: ‘Guidelines for the Governance of Digital Platforms,” he said, addingthat it emphasises a multistakeholder approach to safeguard freedom of expression and access to information”.

He also stressed the need for Nigeria to follow up on the Abuja Declaration, describing it as ‘a very significant opportunity for the country”.

The Minister had earlier joined other members of the Nigerian delegation including the Leader of the delegation, Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman.

Mamman is also the President of Nigeria’s National Commission to UNESCO, to participate in the opening ceremony for the 42nd session of the UNESCO General Conference.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria