It gives me great pleasure to welcome members of the International Press Institute (IPI) to Nigeria.
It is the first time in the 68 years history of the media’s premier platform for press freedom that editors, media executives and leading journalists would gather in this country for its World Congress and General Assembly. Nigeria is most honoured to host you.
Our country has a rich history of robust relationship with the IPI; prominent Nigerian journalists and media operators were and continue to be in the leadership of the international body. But perhaps the most significant symbol of this special relationship is the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos established by IPI in 1963. It is our pride that your vision of a professional journalism training institution in Nigeria has taken firm root.
Your annual congress is holding in Nigeria during a period of global terrorism. Nigeria experiences that scourge through Boko Haram, which has been technically degraded and has no territorial hold anywhere, anymore, in its northeast operational base. The Internally Displaced Persons are gradually returning to their communities in reasonable safety and security.
It is a reflection of your assessment of Nigeria as a safe country that you gave the country the hosting right for this conference. As you have seen since your arrival, you made a wise and right choice.
The changing media landscape, the explosion of the social media and the rapidly evolving new technology have had profound impact on media business and media practice. It is satisfying, therefore, that you have chosen an appropriate theme for your conference: Why Good Journalism Matters: Quality Media for Strong Societies.
In a world where the borderline between hate speech and free speech has become blurred, good journalism matters. In an environment where fake news dwarfs investigative reporting, Good Journalism Matters. For survival in an increasingly competitive field, Good Journalism Matters. Good journalism promotes Good Governance. I therefore urge participants to give depth to the topic in your discussions and conclusions.
One of the reform initiatives of this administration is the introduction of visa on arrival policy. The policy is designed to aid ease of doing business in Nigeria. I am glad that international delegates to this conference are beneficiaries of this policy.
Nigerian government has provided necessary support for a successful hosting right from the time our delegation presented its hosting bid in Qatar to the granting of that right in Germany last year.
I commend the efforts of the Nigeria Hosting Committee for organizing this conference. It is one more evidence of Nigeria’s capacity for doing great things.
Welcome to Nigeria; and enjoy our famous hospitality.