The idea of establishing an Institute for the training and retraining of Journalists in Africa was first mooted at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the International Organization of Journalists (IOJ) in 1986. The meeting suggested the establishment of a school in Africa similar to those in Prague, Czech Republic, Budapest in Hungary, Georgi Dimitrov Institute in Sofia, Bulgaria and others in Warsaw Poland and Moscow, former Soviet Union, now Russia.
Despite the intensive lobby of other African countries, the Nigerian delegation led by George Izobo the then National President and Alhaji Nasir Zahradeen, Deputy National President of the NUJ were able to secure the Institute for Nigeria. The present site for the project was donated to the NUJ by Major-General Gado Nasko, Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory at the time for the Centre for Median Studies as the school was then known. Prof. Stonaway, the Director of the International Organization of Journalists in Prague inspected and approved the site in 1987. The structures proposed for a model primary school by the FCT authorities were redesigned to suit the operations of the Institute.