Today, Friday Oct 28th, the curtain falls on the 2022 UNESCO Global Media and Information Literacy Week here in Abuja. And Nigeria once again stands on the threshold of history.
- Recall that in 2013, Nigeria hosted the first Global Forum for partnership on MIL, tagged “Promoting Media and Information Literacy as a means to cultural Diversity”, which culminated in the UNESCO MIL Alliance and ultimately in the Global MIL Week. Again, Nigeria stands on the threshold of history, as we gather in this hall, joined virtually and globally by people of goodwill, to adopt the Abuja Declaration document on Global Financing for Media and Information Literacy: An Imperative to fight against disinformation and build trust.
In his speech at the opening ceremony of this Global Media and Information Literacy Week on Monday, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, noted that Nigeria has always been on the right side of history regarding the Media and Information Literacy. We have always supported UNESCO in providing the platform for championing the promotion, adoption and implementation of Media and Information Literacy policies across the World.
As we round off a great week, it is imperative for us to re-echo the collective conviction of speakers and contributors that resonated throughout the various sessions of this MIL week, which is that the development of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is a panacea for the fight against all forms of disinformation and the building of trust.
It is also very clear that the trust question, which this year’s Global MIL Week dealt with, is indeed of global concern. Given the frightening dimension of the impact of the surge of disinformation across the globe on the relationships between the government and the governed, institutions, communities, religious organizations, etc., there is the need to forge a common front to confront this menace by advancing a global funding to deal with the issue of disinformation.
Having gone through the various sections of this declaration document, I am convinced that the commitment of all stakeholders to the spirit and letter of this document will greatly accelerate the fight against disinformation and help to build trust.
- We, as a country, commit to pursuing, supporting and promoting the right MIL policies and programmes that will enhance the development of the capacities of our citizens, particularly the youth, in the effective use of Media and Information Literacy. We also commit to working with UNESCO to establish a UNESCO International MIL institute in Nigeria and look forward to receiving the necessary assistance in this regard.
- Finally, I urge development partners, multilateral organizations and all countries to commit to supporting and funding this initiative, which will ultimately make our world a safer and more peaceful place to live.
To all our guests, I hope you have truly enjoyed yourselves in Abuja and that you are going away with sweet memories of the hospitality and the friendliness of our people. I was at the gala night a few metres from here yesterday, and I was delighted and enthralled by the sheer joy and the impressive dance steps of our guests, as our National Troupe put up a superlative performance. It was a fitting climax to a great and successful MIL Week, and I wish to commend everyone who has contributed immensely to this successful Week.
The huge success of the 2022 Global MIL Week in Abuja, coupled with the first hand experience of our guests from all over the world, is a clear testimony to the organizational ability and warmth of our people. The successful hosting of an international event, in a week marked by petrifying terror alerts, is also a testament to the great efforts of our security forces in keeping residents of our capital city, and indeed our country, safe, despite the antics of terrorists who are continually plotting to destabilise our nation’s peace and security. Thanks to the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, our country will be progressively safe and secure, for citizens and non-citizens alike.
Congratulations to all of us, as I wish everyone a successful journey back to their destinations. And I thank you all for your kind attention