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From Classroom to Newsroom: The tale of Muhammad Bello’s peace impact in Niger Delta

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By: Ibrahim Sani Shawai

 

In 2015, during his last visit to India, Barrack Obama, the 44th president of the United State said: “The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts. And it finds its glorious expression when we look beyond any differences in religion or tribe, and rejoice in the beauty of every soul.” This statement has been scrolling through my mind since the day I learnt of Muhammad Bello’s nomination by the Niger Delta agitators who later embraced peace process in resolving the oil region’s crisis, and facilitated the amnesty program of late President Musa Yar’Adua, under the umbrella of Foundation For Peace and Non Violence.
Knowing how committed Bello is to the course of peace through his journalistic tool, I can only conclude that his heart yearns for peace and not just peace but sustainable peace that would help bring about improvement in the living standard of Nigerians and the future of the country.

Bello’s inclusion and nomination by the aforementioned group aimed at honouring esteemed individuals who have played pivotal roles in shaping Nigeria’s peaceful narrative is no surprise to many who know Bello as a very hard working fellow who has no boundaries while working and has been crisscrossing the nooks and crannies of oil producing communities seeking positive change through impactful reportage and detailed storytelling of untold narratives.

Indeed, the works of anyone when done in manners that put the society in a better and more peaceful atmosphere would always be recognised someday, somehow no matter how hidden, it must come to light.

Bello, a seasoned journalist who currently works for DW Germany Radio, For Africa Service at Niger Delta has paid his dues in terms of helping to lay the foundation for a new Niger Delta where peace reigns and the people both Nigerians and foreigners live freely, carrying out their lawful businesses without fear, through his passionate and diligent reportage of the region in a manner that promotes, demands, and raises the consciousness of all stakeholders to the need for peace in the region.

Achieving peace is a challenging and a near impossible task especially in the Niger Delta judging from the history of what has happened in the region but people like Bello through his professionalism and sheer commitment has been able to help concerned stakeholders appreciate the fact that peace in the region is attainable and also that sustainable peace is within reach and for this role, Bello is being penned down as a nominee for an award during a ceremony that will be taking place at the Abuja International Conference Centre on January 27, 2024.

Bello who turns 60 this year, is a native of Dawakin Tofa town in Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area of Kano State.
He attended Dawakin Tofa Central Primary School 1970 to 1977 (Grade 2 Teachers Certificate) and then moved to Gumel Advanced Teacher’s Training College 1983 to 1986 to obtain his National Certificate in Education.

He then sought further education at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria 1988 to 1991 where he obtained Bsc in Physical and Health Education) and then Post Graduate Diploma in Public Policy and Administration at Bayero University, Kano 1998; University Of Nigeria Nsukka for Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology 2006 to 2007; again back to Ahmadu Bello University Zaria for his Msc in Disaster Risk Management and Development between 2019 and 2020.
He went to Goethe Institute Ghana, DW Germany Training to acquire a Certificate in Modern Journalism in 2006.Hostile Environment Training for the Media in Herefordshire, High Field Awarding Body For Compliance, UK 2014.
DW Radio Germany Training in journalism (Recording equipment/ sound quality/ online journalism and Photography, 2013.

Bello who started as a primary school teacher has now risen to become a fearless journalist whose impact to peace and development cannot be swept under the table no matter its size.

He taught in Dalili Gorubawa primary school Kura in Kano State in 1982 and later became the headmaster of Alkalawa Primary School still in Kura Kano State between 1982 and 1983.

He took his teaching trade to Federal Government College, Ogbomosho in Oyo State from 1991 to 1992), continued his teaching business in Tarauni and Gwale Government Secondary Schools (1993 to 1995) and students of College Of Nursing, Kano State between 1995 and 2007 also benefitted from the reservoir of knowledge of this fine gentleman,  whose humility remains conspicuous and intact in spite of his many achievements.

He is currently working with DW Radio Germany for Hausa and English For Africa, covering Niger Delta and South East Nigeria From 2007 to date; Bello’s tale is that of classroom to newsroom, no wonder he created a room to help others and the society find peace and development towards making the world a better place through his exposé-style of reportage.

Bello in the course of his works has reached so many Niger Delta riverine and upland communities, including many communities in the south East, Igbo land in search of stories, not minding the risk and hazard, he has consistently helped Nigerians and the international community to understand the true picture of events in hard-to-reach areas, giving voices to women and children whose voices where hitherto locked within the walls of their communities.

He has been freelancing with so many other national and international media outfits all in a bid to help stakeholders understand the causes of violent conflict in the region and find strategies for a just and sustainable peace at all levels of society through in-depth and relevant journalistic research and practice on a broad range of pressing topics that have contributed towards the demand for justice, promoted healing, and created more equitable societies in Niger Delta.

Bello has been to Ghana, Germany and Herefordshire in London, UK, Paris, Turkey and Morocco all part of his effort to enhance his knowledge to further deliver better service in the field of journalism.

While waiting the day to see Muhammad Bello being honoured along side prominent Nigerians, we hope and pray that Bello will continue to make more impact on the life of Niger -Deltans and Nigerians as a whole with his award-winning documentaries and engaging storytelling prowess.

Shawa is a public analyst and can be reached via: Shawai2000@yahoo.com

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