Union Seeks Better Welfare For Journalists

pressOwners of media organisations in Nigeria have been asked to improve the welfare of their employees and also ensure there is a life insurance policy for them.

The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Mohammed Garba, made the appealed on Monday, as Nigeria joins other countries to mark the World Press Freedom Day.

The NUJ President also warned security agencies and politicians to stop further harassment and intimidation of journalists while performing their official functions.

Mr Garba was spoke to Channels Television on Monday during a seminar to mark the World Press Freedom Day in Kaduna themed “Let Journalism Thrive Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in Digital Age”.

He also lamented that many journalists in Nigeria had suffered one form of brutality or harassment in the hands of security agencies, politicians and individuals while discharging their constitutional duties.

The NUJ President extolled the contribution of journalists in deepening the nation’s democracy, but expressed sadness over government’s poor implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

During the last general elections in Nigeria, many Journalists were brutalised while covering campaign rallies and election.

Every year, May 3 is set aside as World Press Freedom Day. A date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom and to defend the media from attacks on their independence, as well as paying tribute to Journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

The date serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom – a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while Journalists, Editors and Publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

Free And Fair Election, Only Way To Prevent Electoral Violence – NUJ President

electionAhead of the presidential election, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Mohammed Garba, has warned that free and fair election is the only way to prevent electoral violence across the country.

Garba, who spoke during a workshop on how to report the 2015 elections, organized by the Kaduna State council of the NUJ, warned that any attempt by politicians to subvert the will of the people during the polls was likely to trigger violent protests across the country and subsequently disrupt the current democratic dispensation.

He, therefore, appealed to politicians to respect the outcome of the polls and allow the will of the masses to prevail.

Mr Garba also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for introducing new measures aimed at ensuring free and fair elections and however called on security agencies to collaborate with INEC to ensure that elections are conducted peacefully.

The NUJ President also called on security agencies to provide adequate security for journalists covering the 2015 elections, as doing so would give the journalists the confidence to discharge their duties effectively during the polls.

On Saturday March 28, Nigerians would be going to the polls to elect their next President and federal lawmakers for another four years.

The success of the election matters for not only the African continent, but the international community.

In 2011, violence broke out in some parts of the country following the announcement of the presidential election result.

Some supporters of a particular candidate alleged that the election was rigged, hence they embarked on violent protests. The crisis claimed several lives, including serving youth corps members.

Many Nigerians have expressed fears of a recurrence of the 2011 incident going by the violent campaign rallies and hate speeches by political parties.

The NUJ President, while expressing his concerns about this situation, therefore, appealed to politicians and other stakeholders to play the game according to the rules.

U.S Tasks Nigeria On Violence Free 2015 Polls

Election ViolenceAhead of the forthcoming 2015 general elections, the United States Government has urged Nigeria to ensure the conduct of free, fair and credible elections that would be free of violence.

The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, says it is only when the votes count that the electorate would accept the outcome of the result.

This was on Monday while declaring open a workshop for journalists on community reporting in the build up to the 2015 elections, organized by the American Embassy in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria.

According to the Ambassador, the 2015 elections present a golden opportunity for Nigeria to demonstrate its lasting commitment to democratic values and institutions.

While stating that the United States was ready to support Nigeria on its journey to another democratic path, he emphasized the need for the government to tackle the issue of insecurity in all areas affected by insurgency.

He called on Nigerians to refrain from advocating , fomenting or condoning violence before, during or after the elections.

Mr Entwistle also urged political parties and the government to ensure that all registered voters participate freely in a peaceful and transparent process.

Also as Nigeria’s elections draw near, journalists are expected to play a greater role in informing the public with a view to allowing them make good choices on who would run the affairs of the country for the next four years.

The Guest Speaker, Professor of Mass Communication from University of Nebraska, USA, Gary Kebbel, said that the aim of the workshop was geared towards supporting Nigerian journalists to do a better job during the forthcoming election.

According to him, journalists have a key role to play in ensuring a free, fair and violence-free 2015 general elections.

The NUJ President, Mr Mohammed Garba, advised them to provide an impartial and complete set of information that would allow the citizens to make informed decisions.

He also urged the federal and state governments to step up the fight against insurgency in the north east and other affected areas to ensure the safety of the electorates, Journalists and electoral officials.

Some of the journalists covering the north eastern part of the country also allayed the fears of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about conducting a violence free election in the zone, due to intensified deadly attacks being carried out by the Boko Haram members in the zone.

They called for proper equipping and motivation of the nation’s security forces to enable them face the terrorists squarely.

Nigerian Media Asked To Sensitise Citizens On Ills Of Terrorism


The Minister of Information tells both foreigners and Nigerians in Abuja that there's no cause for alarm over the Boko Haram attack warning issued by the US embassy in Nigeria.
Labaran Maku believes the media can help end terrorism in Nigeria

The Minister of Information in Nigeria, Mr Labaran Maku has advised media professionals to stand up against terrorism by sensitising citizens on the ills and negative effects of terrorism.

The Minister gave the advice on Friday at the 8th Ordinary Congress of the West Africa Journalists Association (WAJA) holding in Abuja.

At the opening session of the congress Mr Maku urged media professionals to support their government in the fight against terrorism by shunning acts capable of promoting hate and divisive tendencies.

The President of the WAJA, Mr Mohammed Garba, told the gathering that the association had been able to overcome some of the challenges facing media professionals in West Africa.

Mr Garba, who is also the leader of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, said the association was concerned about insecurity and other issues affecting journalism practice in the sub-region.

“We are concerned about the growing cases of insecurity and also those challenges that are hampering the smooth journalism practice in West Africa.

“The issue of media freedom in the sub-region will also feature prominently in our discussions at the congress,” he said.

The congress will dwell extensively on the welfare of journalists and security, which the president of the association said were essential to effective reportage.

Over 30 delegates and resource persons are attending the congress, with the theme, `Strengthening media for peace, security and democratic governance in West Africa’, holding between April 25 and 26.

Representatives of UNICEF, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), ECOWAS and African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) amongst others will be addressing the congress.

NUJ set to sue LASUTH over battered journalist

President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Mohammed Garba says the union is concluding plans to institute legal action against Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) over the recent brutalisation of a photo journalist in the course of his duties.

Mr. Garba said the union accepts the apology made by the state governor, Babatunde Fashola but would not be deterred from ensuring the culprits are brought to justice so that the incessant harassment of journalists especially in Lagos state will be curbed once and for all.

He said the union plans to follow up the recent incidences of harassment of journalists, including the case of the photo journalist with Compass Newspapers who was beaten up by thugs in Ikeja while attempting to take pictures of an over-crowded train, to ensure that the culprits are either arrested or suspended from their duty posts pending the outcome of investigation and subsequent prosecution.

The NUJ boss said the union will no longer stop at mere condemnation of assault and intimidation of journalists around the country but will push for severe sanctions to be meted on culprits until effective safety standard is instituted for journalists in Nigeria.