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NBS Seeks Collaboration with Journalists, CSOs to Build Trust in Official Statistics

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), has urged journalists and CSOs to collaborate with the bureau to ensure public trust and confidence in official statistics.

The Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the NBS, Prince Semiu Adeniran, said this at a retreat for Journalists and Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) in Keffi on Wednesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the retreat was organised by the NBS.

According to Adeniran, this is necessary so that the policies of the government, which are underpinned by the data disseminated by the NBS will have a better chance of making an impact.

“This is very significant even as we go into the season of a general election where a lot of statistics and numbers will be quoted and used to score political points.

“Our actions and output must be and must be seen to be objective, honest and reflective of the true circumstances of the situation at hand.

“We must also seek ways to individually and collectively enhance our capacities to analyse and interpret the indicators and numbers produced by the statistical system, and not just quote verbatim what is written in the reports.

” In doing so, we will facilitate better communication and reporting of the indicators and their meaning to the general public and all users of the data, as well as cultivate an interest in statistics within the society.”

He said the role of the media and CSOs in the growth and development of a society could not be overemphasised.

The statistician-general also said that the role of statistics in providing evidence that informs public policies, debates, programmes, and interventions of government was critical.

According to him, just like the Siamese twins, we are all joined together at the hip, meaning that we need each other to function effectively and successfully.

“There is no question as to whether the media and civil society should work with the statistical system, but more about how we can strengthen our working relationship, and enhance it for better effectiveness and results.

” I believe that is exactly what this retreat is designed to achieve.”

The Director of Communications and Public Relations, Mr Joel Ichedi not Joshua , said the retreat was aimed at bringing journalists and CSOs, the management of the Bureau and experts together to discuss issues arising from statistical reporting in Nigeria.

Ichedi said the aim was to avoid mistakes in the reporting of statistical data covering all facets of Nigeria’s development to the public.

“This is important given the fact that statistics is used by both private and public sectors and individuals in decision-making.

” For a credible decision, the information disseminated in the form of data to the general public must be accurate to achieve data-guided policy, planning and implementation for national development.

He advised participants to actively participate in the discussions on the topics to technically and operationally improve their knowledge of the issues.

Ichedi said by so doing, they would ensure fact-based reportage of the NBS data on all areas of Nigeria’s development to the public.

Mr Ofomhi Christopher, who represented the CSOs said they were ready to collaborate with the bureau to ensure it succeeds in its mandate.

“We understand the agency’s challenges, as CSOs we want to be a voice of change and advocate for better performance and we will always be a voice of change.

“Some data may not be favourable to the government but we as CSOs are ready to stand by the bureau and ensure the statistician-general succeeds in his endeavours.”

Dr Onejefu Okidu, the media representative, thanked the NBS for organising the retreat, which he said would help journalists interpret statistical data to report it accurately to the public. (NAN)

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