Acting NAN MD advocates use of data visualisation in journalism



Ibrahim Mammaga has called on journalists in the country to use data visualisation tools to improve their reportage.

Mammaga made the call on Wednesday, in Abuja, at training on Data Journalism, organised for reporters and editors of NAN by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with Code for Africa, an NGO.

The acting MD said the training would improve the agency’s ability to use data and statistics for better understanding of important and trending issues in the country.

“Data training is important for journalists on every beat from finance to health, agriculture, sports and so on.

“The fact remains that people do not have the patience to read long stories anymore. People want facts given to them in the shortest way possible.

“Data visualisation summarises stories in a graphic form, making it more interesting for people to read and that is the area I want NAN reporters to explore,” he said.

He appealed to NBS and Code for Africa to extend the gesture to the agency’s reporters in states and zonal offices so that more could benefit from the training.

Mammaga then advised the trainees to use the knowledge acquired from the training in writing stories that were rich in data visualisation to attract more readership and usage of NAN stories.

Ms Andidiong Okon, the Nigerian Project Manager, Code for Africa, said that the training was aimed at helping journalists to understand data and statistics so they could pass accurate information to citizens.

“I think every journalist should see data journalism as a way of making story-telling easier, more interesting and backed with facts.

“So, journalists need to get comfortable with the idea of using data in their stories and the NBS is the most reliable data source in the country,” Okon said.

She disclosed that NAN was chosen for the training because of its wide reach and the relationship it has with other newsrooms who subscribe to the agency.

“We feel that training NAN will create ripple effect to other media and once they see how its reportage has improved, they can learn more and possibly get training support from the agency,” she said.

Meanwhile, one of the trainees, Mr Eric Ochigbo, said his job as a Parliamentary Reporter had been made easy, as legislative data would now be simple to understand using graphics.

“Data journalism is a new frontier of reportage, and as a parliamentary reporter, if I must remain relevant; I really need to know how to use these tools.

“Data visualisation brings clarity and makes it easier for me to explain to my audience the activities of the National Assembly,” Ochigbo said.

NAN is a beneficiary of StoryLab Academy, an initiative of the World Bank, Google News Lab and Code for Africa.

The aim is to develop digital reporting skills in newsrooms across 12 major African cities.

The cities are Abuja, Casablanca, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Freetown and three South African cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

Others are Kampala Lagos (Nigeria) Nairobi and Yaoundé.

General news

Local Content: FG to upgrade Lagos Highway Training School



The Federal Controller of Work in Lagos State, Mr Kayode Popoola, said plans were ongoing to upgrade the ministry’s Highway Training School in Lagos to boost local content and researches into road construction.

Popoola told the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos that the upgrade was necessary to accelerate capacity of local engineers in construction methods to help Nigeria overcome its huge infrastructure deficit.

He said that the ministry would incorporate research and development into the upgraded curriculum to ensure local engineers begin production of construction materials and equipment needed for road construction.

“The ministry will start manufacturing all the components that we can do locally for our roads. We have engineers, we have staff and we have equipment. It is just training that we need.

“That Highway Training School in Badagry is where we normally train all our highway technical assistants.

“The technical assistants are the ones we take to site to take measurements, they take charge of surveys, the road works, and even testing of materials on site.

“The Highway Training School is not for the Federal Ministry of Works alone, other state governments including Lagos, do send their staff there for training. So the school is very useful to the nation,’’ he said.

He explained that the training school in Badagry was not abandoned but would be upgraded to perform at optimal capacity to meet up with current needs of the nation.

Popoola said in the past, only secondary school leavers were admitted into the training school but now the admission requirement has changed as people with higher qualifications were being absorbed.

“What the ministry is planning is to upgrade the training school so that even very senior engineers can go there and receive refresher training,’’ he told NAN.

He, however, declined comment on how soon the upgrade could be achieved, insisting that “plans are on the way to make sure that the training school continues to function as it used to be.’’

Popoola explained that training and retraining was a continuous exercise, and that the training school offered huge potentials for development of local engineers.

He said that the place of research and development was also important and was being explored, stating that the ministry has geotechnics department and laboratories for testing construction materials.

Geotechnical engineering, also known as geotechnics, is the use of scientific methods and engineering principles for the acquisition, interpretation and use of knowledge of materials from both beneath and above the earth to solve societal problems.

“The training a Controller will receive will not be the same as that of senior or principal engineer will receive.

“So, we are going to incorporate, integrate all those researchers to come and teach us on how to effectively utilize the Training School so that little amount will be spent on importation.

“We have bitumen in Nigeria in abundant quantity  somewhere in Ondo though it is yet to be extracted by Federal Government. That does not mean that the engineers will not receive training that will help highway work further,’’ he said.

He added that Nigeria has two other highway training schools in Kaduna State and Benin, Edo, which could revolutionise the construction industry in the country.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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Training plane crashes in northern Iran




A training plane belonging to the Iranian police crashed near Salmanshahr city in Iran’s northern Mazandaran province on Wednesday evening, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.
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Chief of Defence Intelligence urges FG to strengthen Regional Intelligence Training Centers



Air Vice Marshal, Mohammed Usman, the Chief of Defence Intelligence, urged the Federal Government to strengthen and designate Regional Intelligence Training Centres to build military intelligence capacity in the country.

Usman spoke during the 2020 1st Quarter Colloquium and Lecture of the Buratai Center for Contemporary Security Affairs held at Igbenedion University Okada (IUO), Benin on Thursday.

 The theme of the colloquium is: The Intelligence Support for Counter Insurgency in the Sahel Region of Africa.

“An appropriate military intelligence school in West Africa like the Defence Intelligence College, Abuja could be strengthened and designated as Regional Intelligence Training Center to build military intelligence capacity of the countries of the Lake Chad Region.

“To improve the capacity and capability of each country’s intelligence organisation as well as obtain interoperability of equipment and communication systems, there is need for joint intelligence training.

“To achieve improved real time intelligence gathering capacity in the Sahel Region, member states could consider joint acquisition of ISR satellites that would operate at sub-regional level, ” Usman said.

Usman was represented by Maj. Gen. Chukwumedu Martins, Deputy Chief of Defense Intelligence.

 He said that some of the challenges of intelligence support in counter insurgency operations in the Sahel region included differences in national interest, lack of trust among the countries/non state actors, lack of joint training and doctrines.

Others are inter-agency rivalries within countries, overlap of functions of agencies, lack of equipments and over bearing external influences.

Usman said that measures to counter insurgency in the Sahel region included resolving differences among countries, determining and planning intelligence sharing, full exchange of intelligence, reduction of external influence, joint intelligence training and joint acquisition of ISR satellites.

 Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, the Vice Chancellor of IUO, who also spoke at the occasion said the aim of the lecture was to proffer solutions to insurgency in Nigeria.


Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Grace Yussuf
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Fifty officers serving with the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS) in Eastern Equatoria have enjoyed a training session to improve their criminal investigative skills and further their understanding of human rights laws and principles.

“We need such workshops to continue for our forces so that we don’t act aggressively towards the community when we are on duty,” commented Sabina Dominic, a traffic police officer who had her eyes opened at the event.

During the training, provided by human rights officers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, police officers were told that torture and other cruel or inhumane forms of degrading treatment of suspects is not only unacceptable but in fact unlawful.

“We talked about the right of a suspect during arrest and detention,” said Captain Solomon Oliha, Director of the Legal Affairs Police Unit. “As police officers, we can only detain someone for 24 hours and then forward the case to a public prosecutor if suspicions remain.”

Director Oliha also urged citizens to cooperate with police during investigations by providing accurate information so that law enforcement agents can make informed decisions.

“It is our commitment to build the capacity of police officers across the country to ensure that they respect and promote human rights,” said Anthony Nwapa, a human rights officer serving with the peacekeeping mission.

The workshop targeted police personnel directly involved in detentions, arrests and criminal investigations.
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