JFC’s Publication On IDPs, ‘Silent Cries’, Gets Media Boost

Media organisations in Nigeria have pledged support for Journalists For Christ (JFC) on its recent publication, ‘Silent Cries’, a publication that comprises summaries of 20 sponsored stories on the plight of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria.

The publication which is the third in a series is preceded by ‘Muffled Voices’ and ‘Managing Internal Displacement Crisis In Nigeria,’ all published by JFC in conjunction with World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), Canada and Bread For The World, a German NGO and Otto Per Mille, an Italian church that joined WACC to sponsor the publishing of ‘Managing Internal Displacement Crisis In Nigeria.’

The project which included a media monitoring of some national newspapers in Nigeria  on reportage of IDP issues in Nigeria is an eye opener to the cries of IDPs across Nigeria who are in various camps due to no fault of theirs.

A call for pitches on IDP stories was made and 20 journalists were selected, trained and commissioned to write stories. Summaries of the 20 stories are published in the publication already presented in Lagos and Abuja.

JFC has since continued using the publication in advocacy to media houses to raise awareness to IDP issues.

The media on its part has however pledged to support the publication to effectively push the plights of the IDPs across Nigeria.

We will amplify stories in Silent Cries- News Editor, The Nation newspapers

Vice President of JFC, Mrs. Ugonma Cokey during the advocacy to the Nation newspaper, introduced the publication and the reasons for it.

“This is the third in the series on publications on IDPs. ‘Silent Cries’ is unique in the sense that it has reports by journalists while the IDPs told their own stories,” she said.

Cokey, a Deputy Director at the Voice of Nigeria continued that, “Before that, we had a media monitoring exercise and incidentally the Nation newspaper was among the papers monitored on how they reported IDPs. We have the results in this publication as well.

“We had the journalists to pitch stories and we picked 20 of such pitches. We gave them little grants to do the stories and we have IDPs telling their stories, the pains and aspirations.

“It is for others to see and know what their issues are, when they tell us their stories we are able to see from their lenses and there are touchy stories from the camps. We have to identify with them, the duty bears especially need to respond to their issues. We need more journalists to do stories on IDPs.

“It will make us to act and not wait until things happen before we start looking for solutions, it will help journalists to react, some of these IDPs became IDPs not because of any fault of theirs and when we know what to do and not doing it, becomes a problem on its own,” she said.

In his response, News Editor of the Nation newspaper, Mr. Bunmi Ogunmodede commended JFC for bringing the plights of the IDPs to the consciousness of stakeholders.

“It is highly commendable that JFC has deemed it fit to focus on people almost forgotten. These days we hardly see core papers doing human angle stories, you’ll see them do stories of crime in high places. There were more human angle stories in those days,” he said.

Ogunmodede however pledged support for the publication. “If there is a way this can be amplified so that more people and people in authority can have more awareness to the issues on ground. If those in authorities, see what they should do and do it, things will be better,” he said.

The News Editor promised further that, “We will look at it and see if there’s any way we can amplify any of these stories we will not hesitate and if there are need for us to do more work we will not hesitate.”

It’s good development when organisations like JFC fund journalists to do IDP stories-Eshomomo Imoudu


The advocacy also went to Silverbird Television, where Cokey and her team members including Chaplain of JFC, Pastor David Alabi and Project Officer on the project, Mr. Dayo Emmanuel, introduced the publication to the station.


Receiving the team of JFC was National Head of News, Mr. Eshomomo Imoudu, who applauded the publication and enjoined more organisations to emulate what JFC has done for the IDPs in Nigeria.

According to Alabi, “The uniqueness of this one is that unlike other projects, this particular one has the voices of the IDPs. We got journalists to pitch, they got trained and commissioned to do stories, the reason we are doing this presentation is so that we encourage reports to do stories.”

In his response, Imoudu relayed that Silverbird as a group does not sweep IDP issues under the carpet at any time.

“At Silverbird, we go to the IDP camps all the time. We have our reports on IDPs on our Youtube channel. We have stories we have done over time and again, we have stories on the recent flood. On another show called ‘Issues In The News’, we have reports on IDPs.

“My argument has always been why do we have to wait till these things happen? As we fight for IDPs, we must care about the system of the government, that is where the media advocacy should be strong,” he said.

Responding to the fact that more reporters visit IDP camps when agencies and government officials visit the camps, the National Head of News said, “I am not impressed following an agency to IDP camps. I keep telling reporters to go beyond what agencies are saying, go behind them to the camps to do stories.

“Reporters sometimes don’t want to go, they want to follow the agencies there. They should do independent stories. We need more agencies like JFC and other donors sponsoring reporters to go to the IDP camps. More reporters will go out, if we have other donors and agencies sponsoring people, it will help put pressure on the system,” he said.

He however endorsed the activity of JFC on IDPs. “I am 100 percent in support of what you people are doing, let’s go the extra mile. People say journalists don’t do investigative reports, they fail to realise that it costs money. How many people want to put their money down to do investigative reports? It costs so much and when you have organisations funding journalists it is a good development.”

‘We will talk about the publication in our programs’

At the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Ikoyi, Director of Lagos Operation, Mrs. Bolanle Owoyemi, applauded JFC for the feat and called Christian journalists to step forward and identify with JFC.

“Christian journalists need to step forward, we have the voice, we have the number, we need to be involved. I’m happy about this publication and about Journalists For Christ,” she said.

Owoyemi also pledged the support of her organisation. “We will talk about the publication in our programs, to involve our news. We will talk about IDPs, mobilise Christians and others to reach out to IDPs even at Christmas, we will give publicity and pass the information  about IDPs. I will pass the message on, we will involve our head of news, talk about plights of IDPs and give it the push that is required,” she promised.

This project will be like a compass for us at VON- Atolagbe, Deputy Director, Digital Media

Deputy Director, Digital Media of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mrs. Mary Atolagbe, described the visit of JFC to VON as an august visit in November.

“Our Director General, Mr. Osita Okechukwu would have been here but he is in Abuja on an official engagement. I must thank JFC for the laudable project,” she said.

Atolage after being briefed on the reason for the visit, said, “People are displaced not because of their fault; what they did or what they did not do. For us at VON, this project will be like a compass for us to know what to do about IDPs in Nigeria.

“I said a compass because there are so many stories happening around the world but it will make readers feel the empathy to want to do something about IDPs.

“When we talk about IDP camps, people would think it is just about setting up camps and crowding people there but it is more than this. Even around us here, people are displaced because of flood, only that they are not taking shelter under the regular IDP camps but what happens to their livelihood? What happens to their children going to school? So for us at VON, we are making a commitment that we will make good use of this publication, pass the message to the authorities and we will do something about it,” she said.

Making a commitment on behalf of her station, Atolagbe  who appreciated JFC on behalf of her DG said, “I want to thank you on behalf of our DG, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, we give you the commitment that after taking this publication, our news department and people packaging programs will make use of it. I am glad this is happening.”

Post Author: Dayo Emmanuel