Diocesan, Religious Directors of Communications in Nigeria Hold 2nd Plenary Meeting in Warri

By Uche Enem

The Directors/Religious of Communications of various Archdioceses/ Dioceses have held their 2nd plenary meeting at Jubilee Hotel, Retreat and Resorts, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria

The meeting which had the theme: ”Communications Media and Security in Nigeria”, started on 14th October with the arrival of Directors and ended on 17th October, 2019, with the departure of the Directors.

The event started with a Holy Mass led by the Catholic Bishop of Warri, Most. Rev. John Oke Afareha, where he charged communicators to make meaningful and impactful changes to the holistic structure in Nigeria through developing an authentic website devoid of fake news.

Using the words of St Paul, ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,’ the bishop encouraged them to remember their roles as Directors of Communications by calling evil what was evil and good, what was good.

At the opening ceremony, the CBCN Chairman of Communications, Most. Rev. Denis Isizoh, charged Directors to gather media practitioners, Catholic professionals and Catholic entertainers to the various organized Catholic bodies.

The bishop urged them to always send stories and videos of their activities quickly; adding that they should embrace the digital age of speed and timeliness of news. The bishop encouraged journalists to be analytical in their report and publish authentic news.

In his address of welcome, the Local Organizing Committee and Director of Communications of Warri Diocese, Rev. Fr. Benedict Ukutegbe, welcomed all the Directors to the Diocese. He beckoned all the Catholic communicators not to distance themselves as uninterested bystanders; but to take a stand to confront the evil of fake news through their pastoral duties as communicators.

The Signis Nigeria President, Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumuko, called for the embracing of digital communication in reportage. He commended Fides Media for exploring various digital opportunities in Awka Diocese and setting an example to other dioceses. He commended the Catholic Media Practitioners of Nigeria (CAMPAN) team who went to Jos for their convention.
He also commended the Catholic Entertainers & Artistes of Nigeria (CAEAN) in each diocese for their individual efforts aimed at producing films, video clips and movies that portrayed the Catholic faith.

Also speaking, the President of Directors/Religious of Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Ijesan, welcomed all the Directors, Religious and their representatives to Warri. He encouraged all directors to make good use of their stay in Warri Diocese.

The event had four paper presentations on the 15th of October 2019. The first lecture was on ”Communications Media and the Security Architecture of the Nigerian State: The Challenges Ahead”, by Rev. Fr. Efeturi Ojakaminor. In his paper presentation, he illustrated how the media was a powerful organ in the Fourth Estate. He said that because of the speed of the new media, information had been used to restore peace and to also to engineer lies and fake news.

He added that the state of insecurity in the country had created more killings of innocent people, the seizure of newspaper and shut down of media houses. He called on media houses and communicators to always ferret the truth.

The second lecture was on ”Communications Media and Cybersecurity in Nigeria: Implications for the journalist today”, by Rev. Fr. Jude Obiunu. The speaker explained communications and gave the major types of communication. He explained cybercrimes and the various forms of cybercrimes. He also explained cyber security, types of cyber security and how to prevent cyber-attacks. He urged Directors of Communications to be proactive in the use of information across the cyber space.

Adding to this, Moses Samuel Yohanna, talked on some practical ways to avoid hacking of passwords and other sensitive information. He said that a password should not be used for more than one account. He added that passwords should come with upper and lower cases for various account information. The young speaker also spoke on how to create a visible online Facebook page, giving a step to step format in creating and managing products and service through the Facebook.

The last speaker, Miss Uchechukwu Enem (Nigeria Google Crowdsource Moderator & Fides Staff), spoke on Google Realities and Escapades. Her lecture which was practical, showed users how to contribute through Google Crowdsource. She said that the Google Crowdsource programme was a new programme and the queen of some apps because it was designed to help and improve so many apps like Play store, Map, Translate, Search Engine, Photos and many more Google products. The speaker enlightened the people on the need to add places in their community on the map.

She told them how to become local guides and how to help people and businesses through their contributions. She also spoke on Google My Business (GMB) & Google Street View (GSV) and how Fides had carved a niche online through GMB & GSV. She encouraged communicators to grab the Google opportunities and to explore every angle that aided Machine Learning (ML) processes.

On the 16th October, the day started with a Mass led by the Director of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja, Rev. Fr. Chris Anyanwu.

Delivering the homily, the Director of Social Communications of Awka Diocese, Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi, spoke on the importance of God’s grace before and after people in all they did. He added that through the grace of God, people were inspired to work, discover and build those around them.

He exhorted them to emulate Christ’s nature of communication because Christ not only preached the gospel; but practiced the good work. He said that Fides Media had as one of its goals, the helping of young people to discover their God-given talents through empowerment and training s and creating enabling platform for them. He enjoined Directors/Religious of Communications to be carriers of the good work.

In the next phase of the meeting, the Director/Religious of Communications, paid a courtesy visit to the Palace of the Olu of Warri, HRM, Ogiame Ikenwoli. After the visit to the Palace, the team took a tour to the Refinery and to Delta State Broadcasting Service (DBS).

The final point of the excursion was a boat cruise to Ode of Itsekiri, where the foundation of Christianity in Nigeria started. The Ode of Itsekiri has its caliphate and some notable structures of the first Christianity journey in Nigeria.

At the end of the meeting, the Directors/Religious of Communications, had a social night to mark the end of the plenary meeting in Warri. The directors were entertained with some cultural music, highlife and other wonderful songs and dances.

L-R: Rev Fr. Christopher Omotosho, Director of Communications, Sokoto Diocese; Most Rev. Denis Isizoh, CBCN Director of Communications and Rev Fr. Martin Anusi, Director of Communications, Awka Diocese & Fides Media Director, at the event
Fides Team enjoying the event.
Group photograph of Directors of Communications with the Olu of Warri, HRM, Ogiame Ikenwoli
The Director of Communications in a group photograph with the two bishops after the opening mass