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NCDMB’s Youth Empowerment Programme in Kano

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), is intending to make Kano a hub and center for media activities, to project and promote ongoing youths empowerment programmes, initiated by the Board in the North-west geopolitical zone, writes our Acting Editor, EDDY OCHIGBO

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) which was established by the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010, is mandated to specifically develop capacity of local supply chain for effective and efficient service delivery to the oil and gas sector, without compromising standards and also carry out the implementation and enforcement of the provisions stipulated in the act.

The Board in its unwavering determination to, among other things, drive innovation, stimulate economic growth, create jobs for the nation’s teeming unemployed youths, last month, organized a Nigerian Content Capacity Building Workshop for media stakeholders in Kano, the commercial nerve of Northern Nigeria. The event, with the theme ‘Sustaining Nigerian Content Development Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic: Role of the Media, dwelt extensively on NCDMB’s strategies of making Kano the main hub of media and other relevant stakeholders activities in the entire North-west geopolitical zone.

Director Legal Services of NCDMB, Barrister Mohammed Umar, who delivered the keynote address on the ‘Philosophy, objectives of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Content Development (NOGICD) Act, said the Kano media ensemble became necessary to equip media practitioners and other stakeholders with right and useful information about the activities of the Board in the country, stressing that the role of the media in agenda setting and awareness creation, directly or indirectly, cannot be overemphasized.

Umar stated: “Agenda setting, awareness creation to sensitize the public as well as the need to publicize the essence of NOGICD Act and monitor compliance of the local content, rests squarely on the shoulders of media practitioners”. Meanwhile, Chief Officer, Media and Publicity, Mr. Obinna Ezeobi, who represented Manager, Corporate Communications, Barrister Naboth Onyesoh  disclosed that the intention of the Board “is to create a media hub in Kano like we have in PortHarcourt, Lagos and Abuja to create the much needed awareness about the activities of NCDMB nationwide to improve the capacity of Energy Correspondents in their reportage.

The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board is among other things, mandated to:

•Review, assess, and approve Nigerian Content plans developed by operators;

•Set guidelines and minimum content levels for project related activities across the oil and gas value chain;

•Engage in targeted capacity building interventions that would deepen indigenous capacities – human capacity development, infrastructure, facilities, manufactured materials and local supplier development;

•Grow and manage the Nigerian Content Development Fund;

•Establish, maintain and operate the Joint Qualification System (NOGICJQS) in conjunction with industry stakeholders;

•Monitor Nigerian Content Compliance by operators and service providers, in terms of cumulative spending, employment creation and sources of local goods, service and materials utilized on projects that comply with Nigerian Content provisions; and

•Conduct studies, research, intervention, workshops and trainings aimed at advancing the development of Nigerian Content.

General Manager Research, Statistics and Development, Malam Abdulmalik Halilu, told participants that “There used to be a time when people were worried that major oil companies were divesting from Nigeria and a lot of people thought that that was the end. But things have changed for the better. Before now, the contribution of the indigenous producers to overall daily production was a marginal 3% but today we’ve achieved 30%. And the aspiration is to take it to 70% by the year 2027.

In his paper entitled ‘Nigerian Content: 10-Year Roadmap: Targets and Milestones, the General Manager assured that with sincerity of purpose NCDMB has been able to reduce the contracting circle considerably. And going forward, he said, “there is currently a plan on how we can integrate with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry for joint qualifications system and with these unfolding engagements, we are certain that we would further reduce the contracting circle. We are doing this baseline census project, where we are trying to get the entire industry’s capacity in fabrication, engineering, well-drilling and services, shipping and logistics”.

During the workshop, Professor Ayodele Joseph of the Kaduna State University (KASU), presented a paper on the ‘Role of the Media in Public Policy Framing – Case Study of Nigerian Content’, which touched on understanding the concept of public policy.

Public policy, Professor Joseph disclosed, “is the sub-total of laws, actions and regulations. It can be seen as things a given government intends to do or not to do at any given time. Often times a good number of these policies are created in response or reaction to a given situation”, adding that although there is no single definition that may be said to embracingly capture the meaning of public policy, and though scholars tend to differ in their interpretation, “one may simply put public policy as what any government does or does not do about a given challenge or problem it is faced with for the purpose of proffering solution to it”.

While emphasizing the concept of framing/media framing, Professor Joseph told participants that frames are systems of preconceived ideas that are used to organize and interpret new information, evident in either thoughts (interpersonal) or interpersonal communication. “Framing helps us to remove ambiguity or misconception of relevant information by carefully contextualizing them in a way that we are able to relate them to our preconceived ideas”.

The university don believes that as the fourth estate of the realm, the media exist primarily to deliver message content, entertainment, information and advertisement. However, the involvement of the media in public policy framing is an affirmation of their deeper influence on our society. Identifying the problem before the formulation of any policy, he explained, is very important as it serves as a springboard for generating ideas that strengthens the entire process of policy formulation. So the burden is on the media to activate their watchdog role of monitoring what the policy makers are implementing.

Professor Joseph stated that strategies for media policy framing must address the following: What is the assumption of the articles? What are the sources? What kind of language is used? Can any pattern or theme be found? Is there a narrative that has been followed? How are people or groups presented? Is there any class representation?

Similarly, Malam Mohammed Auwwal of Bayero University Kano (BUK), who made a rich presentation on ‘Improving Writing Competencies to meet Evolving Media Trends’, harped on ethical standards in reportage.

According to him, as society advances in education and enlightenment, citizens, activists, advocates and groups are rightly demanding for better quality service from information managers and ready to blow the whistle on activities, saying ethics refers to well founded standards of right and wrong that prescribes what contravenes ethical values.

While urging media practitioners to imbibe and internalize ethical principles in the course of their duties and assignments, Auwwal suggested that there are times when the writer must take an ethical decision on the way forward based on certain principles which he said include:

•Personal virtue – Never do any write up that is not honest, truthful and open;

•Religious injunctions – Never write or publish materials that does not build sense of community;

•Government requirement – Never put up media materials that violet the law as that represents minimal normal standard;

•Utilitarian values – Never engage in journalistic practice that is against the greater good of the society; and

Distributive justice – Never publish or write what harms the poor, the uneducated and the unemployed.

In a related development, NCDMB has successfully trained and empowered one thousand youths in Kano state on GSM Phone repairs, maintenance, software and hardware know-how. The training which has a duration of six months, no doubt exposed trainees in the area of end-to-end delivery process, used to empower hand-holding beneficiaries through comprehensive classroom training, apprenticeship, and mentorship, until their satisfactory completion to eventually settle down for entrepreneurship.

The first batch of beneficiaries consists of 600 youths who have since been issued certificates. The new entrepreneurs are expected to replicate their newly acquired technical skills by training unskilled youths in their respective communities in the state.