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[LAGOS] A network focusing on the public communication of science and technology has been launched in Nigeria.

The Science Communicators Association of Nigeria (SCAN) brings together science journalists, public relations officers of science and technology organisations and other science communicators.

The association is expected to help boost science and technology reporting, which is still in its infancy in Nigeria. As a first step, it aims to encourage every newsroom in Nigeria to have a science and technology desk.

The association was first proposed at a workshop for science writers and reporters held in May 2004 in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

A steering committee that was set up to plan the network's creation prepared a draft constitution and organised a national congress, which was held in Abuja on 18 March 2005.

At the meeting, the network's members adopted the constitution and elected SCAN's executive committee. Members of the committee will have a three-year tenure.

SCAN hopes to promote professionalism in science and technology reporting through capacity building projects supported by national and foreign organisations.

It will initiate programmes to promote good relations between scientists and the media, while helping to demystify science and technology.

Segun Ayeoyenikan of the Nigerian newspaper The Guardian was elected president of the association’s national executive committee and Ifeoma Ndefo of the National Biotechnology Development Agency was made deputy president.

Helen Shok-Jok of the Voice of Nigeria radio station and Elemue Austin of Capital Times newspaper will act as secretary and deputy secretary, respectively.