Babajide Kolade-Otitoju Speaks On Media, Security Agencies’ Relationship

…bags NAOSNP security analyst of the decade award

By: Okosun Dennis

A media guru and Group Head, Current Affairs, Television Continental (TVC), Mr. Babajide Kolade-Otitoju has expressed concerns about the “cat and mouse” relationship that still exist between the military, other security agencies and the media.

He observed that hoarding of essential information from the press about their operations has often pitched the media and the security agencies at loggerheads.

Noting that to have a harmonious working environment, there must be a symbiotic relationship where they would work hand in hand, he reiterated that the military should be more open at releasing pieces of information that don’t impede on National security.

Otitoju, who was awarded NAOSNP Security Analyst of the Decade during the Annual Security Conference organised by the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) on Wednesday at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, said it will be difficult to have a perfect relationship with the security agencies as far as they are concerned, “they will stifle you reporting some things about them.”

Babajide Kolade Otitoju while dedicating his award to all corrupt free security agents, gave a slice of what he is made of as he said, “Who says all security operatives are corrupt? That statement is nothing but untrue. I know a lot of security officer who do not take bribe.

“If I say bribe, I mean life changing bribe. Money that can change your life. And for all Nigerian Army, Police, NSCDC, Immigration, Customs, NDLEA officers, who diligently discharged their duties, and who stood firm for the truth to make Nigeria great by not collecting bribe regardless of the degree,” I dedicate this award for you all, God bless Nigeria!

In an interview shortly after receiving his award, he explained that the relationship between security forces and the media, is still a “cat and mouse thing.” I want to see us work hand in hand, they should be more open,” he acknowledged.

In his words, “There are some pieces of information we would need, they will not respond and would give you the update late but when you report your own findings, they get angry.

“Even when they opened up, it is always late. By the time they do, the Journalist would gone to town with his own version of the story.”

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Buttressing his position further, the versatile analyst on “Journalist Hangout”, a current affairs programme on television reiterated that “sometimes, a journalist is a witness to a crime or an incident,” which predisposes him/her to have the details even before the security agents visits the crime scene.

The seasoned and accomplished Otitoju explained that where a journalist saw “eight people shot dead by an armed robber” and confirmed and in order not to create tension, the (security agent) said it’s only two people that died, do you expect the journalist to report your own version of the story? He querried.

“They do that a lot and all the security agencies are guilty of it. At the end of the day, they want to blame the Journalist for given false information whereas he was a witness to it.

“Sometimes, they don’t want us to report anything that will embarrass the government. The truth is that whether we embarrass the government or not, as long as it does not endenger national security, the Journalist should be free to report it.

“We cannot have a perfect relationship with the security agencies as far as they are concerned, even those negative things, you shouldn’t report. If they have their way, they will stop you from reporting it, he added.

While commending NAOSNP for finding him worthy to be appreciated for risking his life to ensure there is good society, Babajide Otitoju, noted that a journalist should be an harbinger of truth and where such doesn’t exist, such journalist shouldn’t practice or qualified to be so branded.

“If as a journalist you cannot say the truth, you are not fit to be a journalist. I praise the police where necessary and condemn them where desirable.

He added that those who always disparage the police are unfair to them due to the enormity of work they are doing to secure the country. We can have a better country through diligence.

“When I criticize the Government, people say I hate the Government. I don’t hate the Government but want to show where we need improvement and adjust to the realities for a better society.

Other awardees included Mr Anthony B. Iwute; CP Abiodun Alabi NAOSNP Commissioner of Police of the year; DCP Akinbayo Olasoji, DC Operation, Enugu State Command who emerged as NAOSNP Best Deputy Commissioner of Police of the year – Operations and CSP Titilayo Oriyomi- O/C Motor Traffic Division, Lagos Command who was awarded NAOSNP Police Officer of the year.

Post Author: Friday Ekeoba