Reverend Father Christian Anokuru, the Health Coordinator of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, has called on journalists to rebrand the country by reporting fearlessly, as demanded by the ethics of their profession.
The priest gave the advice during the Sunday thanksgiving service at the Madonna Catholic Chaplaincy, Umuahia, to kick start the 2019 Press Week of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Abia.
Anokuru, who is the administrator and chaplain of Madonna Catholic Hospital, said that journalists were the eye of the nation and the mouth piece of the poor.
He said, ” It is your duty to rebrand Nigeria and to tell us the truth without being afraid.
“It is fact that you are exposed to danger owing to the nature of your work, but nothing should deter you.God will always protect you.”
Earlier in his homily, the priest warned against pride as well as judging others, but urged all to embrace the virtue of humility.
Explaining the gospel according to Luke 18: 9-14, Anokuru said that the Pharisee, who claimed self righteousness eptimosed pride, while the Publican, who admitted being a sinner, showed humility.
He said, “The righteous despised the sinner and that is what God hates.We are not to judge any one; rather we should pray for such a person. Judgement is for God.
“Even as nation, the problem is that we fail to recognise who we are.We pride ourself as giant of Africa but to what extent are we maximising the opportunity given to us?
“We are just like the Pharisee whose action contradicted his spirituality.So we must match our words with our actions.”
In his remarks, Chief Obinna Ibe, Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel, thanked the cleric for the wonderful opportunity to worship in the Chaplaincy.
He said the Chapel decided to kick start the Press Week with a thanksgiving service in recognition of God’s mercy in their lives despite the precarious nature of their work and for the success of the programme.
He said that the annual event would continue on Tuesday with a free medical outreach at the NUJ Press Centre, Umuahia.
According to him, the free eye screening and dispensing of reading glasses, are in partnership with Madonna Catholic Hospital and a charity organisation, Back to the Heroes Past.
Ibe said the programme would continue on Wednesday with a public lecture entitled “Challenges of Social Media in Journalism Practice in Nigeria” which would be delivered by Dr Uwoma Uche, Head Department of Mass Communication, Abia Polytechnic, Aba.
According to him, on Thursday, there would also be a facility tour of some key government’s projects.
The chairman said that grand finale would witness conferment of merit awards to deserving distinguished Nigerians.
The awardees, he said included Mr Okey Nzenwa, Core Investor, re-branded Golden Guinea Breweries Plc; Dr Aham Uko, Commissioner for Finance, and Dr Christian Okoli, Chairman, Aba South LGA.
Ibe said that Senator Theodore Orji representing Abia Central district would also be honoured with the Grand Patron of Correspondents Chapel, Abia NUJ.