By Anita Eboigbe/ Collins Yakubu-Hammer
Malam Wada Maida, the new Chairman, Board of Directors of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), has said the Agency requires priority funding because of its strategic importance to the media industry.
At the maiden meeting of the board held on Wednesday in Abuja, Maida said that adequate funding and infrastructure were important at this critical time to enable the Agency to sustain its leading position as the best news agency in Africa.
“Funding is the most urgent area to focus our attention on. The national news agency is supposed to attract priority funding because we serve as a lifeline to others.
“Nevertheless, we are a bank for authentic and balanced news to so many media platforms in the country and beyond,” Maida said.
The chairman added that an upgrade of equipment to meet modern technological standards and product diversification would enable the NAN to sustain its relevance in the media industry.
“Another area is infrastructure; we need modern equipment in gathering, processing and distribution of products. Modern journalism, especially a service like ours depends on first class technology to survive.
“More so, training and re-training of our reporters and editors is necessary if we want to continue to be relevant to our subscribers.
“We also have to look into other products that we can offer to the Nigeria and foreign media, such as radio and data services,” he said.
Maida, who was a former Managing Director of the Agency, also lauded the efforts of the current Managing Director, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, at enhancing professionalism, improving the speed and quality of news reports of the agency since he assumed office on May 25, 2016 .
He said: “We have a managing director who is a professional to the core.
“He has in the last two years of his appointment improved news coverage and orientation especially the speed of delivery of news service.
“I know this because even though I have not been into this building in the last 15 years, I kept my ears and eyes on this agency because of the relationship I had with it,” Maida said.
He also applauded the hard work and competence of journalists working for the agency, urging the staff, management and board members to synergise to uplift the agency.
Maida, who also served as the agency’s Editor-in-Chief, gave assurance that the board under his stewardship would strive to shape its policies and assist with necessary networking to move the agency forward while restraining itself from interfering in the day-to-day running of the agency.
He noted that a lot of expectations have trailed the board since its constitution, especially from pioneer staffs of the agency considering the fact that he was a previous Managing Director of the agency .
“I have never imagined that after spending my active years in NAN, I will be invited to come back here in my retirement years.
“I see this appointment as a challenge and I hope with your support we shall not disappoint those who appointed us.
“I believe that the agency has the necessary foundation and staff strength to improve the fortunes and its state of affairs,” he said.
Earlier, Onanuga said the agency was undergoing re-engineering to enable it to meet the challenges of 21st century journalism.
He said that even though the agency is facing financial challenges, it has made remarkable progress since his assumption of office.
The managing director said that agency would soon establish a photo website as a way of boosting its clients’ base and generatr more revenue that will help in financing its projects.
Onanuga assured the new board of the current management’s maximum cooperation towards making NAN a world class media content provider. (NAN)