Nigeria’s apex nuclear control agency, the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA) has tasked journalists on the sensitization of Nigerians on the agency’s regulatory activities, especially nuclear safety and radiological protection.
The NNRA director-general, Dr. Yau Idris, made this call during the fifth national workshop for editors and correspondents on nuclear safety and radiological protection organised by the agency yesterday in Abuja.
He pointed out that most people are ignorant of the agency’s responsibilities and activities, hence the need to interface with the media to sensitise the people.
Represented by the NNRA’s general manager for nuclear safety physical security and safeguard, Dr. Nasiru Bello, Idris further said the agency regulates Nigeria’s nuclear sector by issuing regulations and guards, authorising, performing oversight functions, emergency planning etc.
He further said the agency is keenly interested in promoting opportunities for stakeholders’ involvement in sectoral activities.
In his remarks, the director, radiological safety, NNRA, Dr. Isa Sambo, underscored the safety and protection of life, health and property against radiation risk.
“The NNRA has recorded various successes in implementing its mandate of nuclear safety and radiological protection in Nigeria. It recognises the vital role the media plays in effectively communicating the accomplishments of the authority’s regulatory activities to boost public confidence.
“The NNRA will continue to partner with media and do its best to foster the mutually beneficial relationship,” he said.
Similarly, the agency’s assistant manager, legal and international cooperation unit, John Adamu, highlighted the existence of radiation on the earth and how important it is for humans to learn how to safely live with it.
Adamu listed some of the agency’s challenges as capacity-building, funding and the delay in passing the Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguard Bill.
Earlier, the NNRA’s head, information unit, Mrs. Ekaette Bassey, said the agency makes safety, security, prevention method to tackle nuclear and radiation danger in the country its priorities.
According to her, nuclear safety covers the actions taken to prevent radiation accidents or limit their consequences. She further called on the media to avail citizens of credible information on nuclear matters.
“Public opinion research shows that most people are scared of any nuclear topic but some would love to know more, especially as it concerns safety and the capacity of the regulatory authority to control radiation source and respond to accidents.
“Communicating [about] nuclear [energy issues] is a challenging task but people need to understand the benefits and dangers of nuclear science and technology and the role of the NNRA in ensuring nuclear safety and radiation protection in the country.
“It is, therefore, important that a consistent and sustainable relationship with the media is maintained to engage the public on issues of nuclear and radiological safety, to disabuse their minds, change their opinions and encourage behavioural changes, awareness and protection of nuclear safety and security in Nigeria,” she added.