The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) says the process of developing a database of journalists nationwide has commenced.
The NUJ president, Mr Waheed Odusile, said this when he visited Mr Bayo Onanuga, the Managing Director/Chief Executive of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in his office on Friday in Abuja.
He said that having the database had become imperative to ascertain the exact number of journalists who are members of the NUJ in order to reposition the union and to enhance professionalism.
“We are trying to have a database all journalists in Nigeria; anywhere, we lay claim to being the largest in Africa that we have between 30, 000 and 40,000 members.
“But if you ask me, where is the list, we cannot produce it because we do not have the comprehensive list of journalists in Nigeria.
“We are trying to engage with an ICT firm, where we will capture the information of all our members; we will soon commence the re-registering our members, where we will capture their information including their fingerprints.
“We will be able to use whatever information we have; of course it will be captured on the new ID card that we are designing.”
He said that with the introduction of the ID card through the database system, the union would be able to eliminate quackery in the system.
According to him, quacks in the system have become worrisome for organisers of events and are creating a lot of problems for the professionals.
“But we are trying to see how we can get rid of all these people from our profession and the truth is that they are not even qualified to practice.”
Odusile also appealed to the management of NAN to sponsor staff who do not have professional qualification to attend either the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) or Nigerian Institute of Journalists.
“There are certain things you also need to learn not just on the job but in the classroom. It will uplift the standard of practice of our members.”
He said the union will also fashion out ways of elevating the two institutions especially the IIJ as a finishing school in journalism just like the Law School.