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.
The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, and the political problems facing the International Organization of Journalists which nearly tore the Organization into pieces and later resulted in protracted court cases, rendered the Organization incapable of meeting its financial obligations to its institutions. After a few years of waiting, the NUJ National Executive Council in 1993 decided to get the school off the ground by assuming full responsibility for its funding. The International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) in Abuja is therefore today the sole responsibility of the NUJ.
The NUJ and the Institute are grateful to Major-General Mohammadu Gado Nasko and his successors for the material and other assistances they have extended to the Institute towards the realisation of the dream of the NUJ to train and retrain its cadres and to prepare them adequately to contribute more effectively to National development.
The Institute commenced operations in 1994 with programmes in Computer Studies and French while in 1995, Diploma Programmes in Journalism were added. The Institute now runs Diploma and Higher Diploma Progammes in Journalism and Postgraduate Diplomas in Journalism and Advertising and Public Relations. It also runs certificate courses in Computer Studies, Advertising and Public Relations and French. Plans are underway to introduce more programmes in the nearest future.
Inspite of obvious difficulties, efforts are being made to get the IOJ Headquarters in Prague,
Czech Republic to accord the Institute the same global recognition enjoyed by similar institutions founded on the platform of the Organization including a listing with UNESCO as a regional training centre for Journalists in Africa.
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