The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday in Abuja urged the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to expand its scope of coverage of news both within and outside Nigeria.
The NUJ President, Mr Waheed Odusile, said this when he paid a visit to the Managing Director and Chief Executive of NAN, Mr Bayo Onanuga, in his office.
Odusile said that expansion of news coverage was important as a lot of Nigerians in the diaspora depended on NAN for credible information on happenings in the country.
“Because just like your name suggest, the News Agency of Nigeria is for all Nigerians and is for Nigerians who want to know more about Nigeria.
“Same thing with Nigeria’s interest outside our country; we expect more from NAN; there are so many Nigerians in the diaspora.
“In fact, the large community of Nigerians here want to know what is happening to those in the diaspora.
He said that NAN should also be the authority that foreign news agencies would have to rely on to get news about Nigeria.
““Yes, we know that NAN is almost everywhere in Nigeria, but we want to call on the management to expand the tentacles of NAN to cover all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.
“We want to know what is happening in one remote village. Every villager that is in the city wants to know what is happening back home; it is only NAN that can provide that.
“We are not unaware of your partnership with some foreign news agencies.
“But what we are telling you in essence is that NAN should further expand to virtually all parts of the country and the world at large.”
Odusile also informed Onaguga that the NUJ had sent a draft bill to the National Assembly with a view to reviving the Nigerian Press Council, saying that law establishing the council was defective.
While congratulating Onanuga of his appointment as the NAN Managing Director, Odusile said his expertise must be brought to bear on professionalism in the agency.
Responding, Onanuga said that NAN informed the NUJ president that NAN is the main source of news to all media in the country, adding that without NAN many of them would not survive.
“We have 501 journalists working for NAN, there is no news medium in this country that can afford to have that.
“Most of these media houses use NAN copies without crediting NAN; unless you compare it with the original copy, you may not know but we in the agency know.
“So, everybody depends on NAN and that is what NAN has been doing supplying the nation with credible stories.”
Onanuga acknowledged the fact that NAN needed to improve on a lot of things, saying that his mission was to ensure that the desired improvement was achieved.
He commended the NUJ for the steps being taken to address the issue of quacks in the system, saying that it was long overdue.
He urged the NUJ president to ensure constant training and conferences for NUJ members to ensure professionalism in the system.
The managing director also commended the efforts of the NUJ to revive the Nigeria Press Council and bring about innovations in the union.