The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III has declared that lack of patriotism was the major obstacle to the peace and unity of the country.
The royal father, who was in Sokoto on Sunday at a special Ramadan breakfast (Iftar) organised for journalists in the state by the sultanate council, called on them them to consider national interest as paramount and superior to their personal interest by being positive and unbiased in their reporting of events, even as he admonished them to remain ethical in their professional work.
“I urge you to always be factual, objective and unbiased in your reports; anything to the contrary can be dangerous to the country,” he said.
Sultan Sa’ad noted the multi-faceted national security, socio-political and economic challenges posing threat and concern to citizens of the country, manifesting in violent killings and destruction of property especially at the post-election period.
According to him, professional journalists should not encourage reports capable of igniting a civil war, and reminded Nigerian journalists of the need to avoid reports with the tendency to cause disharmony.
“As professionals, you have to strike a balance between leaders and followers on issues and events, by ensuring that honest, sincere and transparent reports gets to the readers according to the ethics of your profession,” he stressed.
He noted that the noble profession was instrumental in building the bridge for peace and unity through objective and positive reportage, adding that “journalists should always be patriotic and positive in their practice.”
According to him, journalists had an important duty to play in shaping the society by accepting development and situations as they are while reporting.
?“Do not be negative at the expense of the unity and peace of the country.Reporting what will suit your mind is a deviation from the ethics of journalism,” he pointed out.
The sultan also cleared the air on the issue concerning moonsighting during this Muslim holy month, saying there was no contriversy over the matter.
“As a leader, I don’t take decisions unilaterally without consultations in the interest of the religion, ummah and unity of all Muslims.
“We have national moon sighting committee chaired by retired Group Captain Usman Jibrin and similar committees across the 36 states, including the Federal capital Territory (FCT) apart of sub-committees in respective states with proper liaison, which is one of the ways I relied on for reports on moon sighting through first-class emirs, and none of them reported the sighting of the moon.”
On Islamic banking, he that there was no pointer to substantiate how Islamic banking would Islamise the country, and noted that it was aimed at encouraging Muslims (and others) to avail themselves of the opportunities for business entrepreneurship.