Catholic Bishops appoint Provincial Communications Coordinators and Advisers
By Rachel Kogi, CSN
As part of efforts to reposition the communications apparatus of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, to become more responsive to both the pastoral and secular needs of the time, the Catholic Bishops have created three new bodies to work with the National Directorate of Social Communications of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja.
The new bodies are the Provincial and Religious Communications Coordinators (PRCC), the National Media Advisers (NMA) and the National Catholic Media Commission (NCMC).
While the PRCC comprises nine Coordinators representing each of the Ecclesiastical Provinces in Nigeria, and one Coordinator for the Religious, the NCMC consists of the Bishop Chairman for Communications, the National Director, the 10 PRCC members, the three NMA members, three Lay media/communications experts and the Presidents of the Nigeria Catholic Media Bodies (NCMB). The NCMB are CAMPAN, CAEAN, SIGNIS which are already in existence, and those to be established, like Catholics in ICT (Cath-ICT), Catholic Communications Lecturers (CCL) and Catholic Media Proprietors (CMP).
Towards achieving the set goal, the following Diocesan Directors have been appointed as Provincial Communications Coordinators: Fr. Moses Iorapuu for Abuja Province, Fr. Stephen Okojie for Benin Province, Fr. Justin Udomah for Calabar Province, Fr. Anthony Akiwowo for Ibadan Province, Fr. Andrew Danjuma for Jos Province, Fr. Christopher Omotosho for Kaduna Province, Fr. Anthony Godonu for Lagos Province, Fr. Benjamin Achi for Onitsha Province, Fr. Leonard Ehimere for Owerri Province, and Fr. Kuhwa Indyer, CsSp as the Communications Coordinator for all the Religious in Nigeria.
Similarly, the following persons were appointed as National Media Advisers (NMA): Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumuku, Very Rev. Fr. Martin Anusi and Sr. Oluwakemi Akinseye, fsp.
In a letter signed by the Bishop Chairman of Social Communications, Most Rev. David Ajang of Lafia Diocese, the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi and the National Director of Social Communications, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Umoh, the new NCMC members were charged “to immediately commence work with the National Director of Social Communications towards the successful celebration of the 2023 Communications Week (ComWEEK); and also work with the Directorate towards producing a working document in response to propositions on Social Communications presented at the recently concluded National Pastoral Congress held in Benin-City (November 2022).”
It will be recalled that the Catholic Bishops have been working on a 3-year vision which entails “developing an integrated, effective and efficient communications structure for the Catholic Church in Nigeria.” The two major goals identified as important means of achieving the vision are: “To effectively launch the Catholic Church on the digital space by creating a dynamic and highly interactive Social Networking App on IOS and Android” and “to develop a system that will facilitate a coordinated media education/training among all Catholics in Nigeria, and particularly among all pastoral agents.”
In view of the first goal, an App has been created, known as Nigeria Catholic Network, and it is fully running on google play store and apple store. Social media handles have been created on YouTube and Tiktok.
In response to the second goal, there have been numerous media trainings for different pastoral agents including Communications Directors, seminarians, nuns, catechists and lay leaders. A syllabus for media education in Seminaries has already been produced and ready for use from next year.
The maiden edition of the Communications Week initiative, was a media literacy programme targeted towards millions of Catholics at the grassroots and all Parishes in Nigeria. The Communications Week project is aimed at developing media culture in the Catholic Church in Nigeria.
The new bodies are expected to produce a social media policy for the Catholic Church in Nigeria.