Again, NUJ appeals to Buhari for bailout fund for media


…Wants media owners to pay salaries promptly

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has again appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari for a bailout fund for the media so as to save the media industry from collapse. This is even as the union wants the media owners to discharge their obligations to journalists promptly.

This is part of the communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the NUJ held at Asaba, the Delta State capital last Friday.

The meeting recalled that in May last year; the NUJ wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari appealing for a bailout fund for the media, primarily because of the Covid-19 pandemic which had affected the global economy.

“NEC in session appeals once more to the Federal Government to urgently intervene to save the Media Industry from collapse. It reiterates its earlier position that a vibrant and independent media is germane in a democracy and as such it should be jealously guarded and protected”, the communiqué said.

The communiqué noted that the continuous nonpayment of salaries of journalists by some media owners had again been reviewed by the meeting and NEC believed that this negative trend continued to impact negatively on the practice of journalism.

It however advised that media owners who owe journalists should discharge their obligations in this respect, responsibly and as when due.

“A situation where some journalists are made to work for months without any salary is an aberration and should be condemned”, it added.

In education, the communiqué pointed out that in reviewing the contributions of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) to tertiary education over the years, NEC commended the management of the intervention agency led by Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro of doing an excellent job while appealing for injection of sufficient funds into TETfund to ensure a complete overhaul of the nation’s tertiary education system.

According to the communiqué, “NEC believes that increase in tax collection would translate to more funds to finance projects in our tertiary institutions, thereby improving education quality.

On security challenges facing the country, the communiqué said, “NEC urges the Federal Government to rejig the Security apparatus to enable it effectively tackle these challenges, especially the insurgency in the North East, banditry and kidnappings, cattle rustling and other forms of criminality that have assumed dangerous dimensions, thereby making free movement of people, goods and services from one part of the country to another a difficult challenge.

“To further strengthen the security architecture, NEC also calls on the federal government to accede to the clamour for State Police to bolster the security system.

“The meeting while looking at the challenges of banditry in the Northwest applauds the approach of the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle in the handling of the security situation in the State that has brought some form of respite and peace. NEC encourages more of such positive engagements as a means of eradicating such heinous acts by gangs.

“The Union regrets the unprovoked killing of Nigerian soldiers while on assignment to help restore peace in some warring communities in Benue State and calls for proper investigation to fish out the culprits. However, NEC cautions against the use of excessive force in this process in order to avoid any collateral damages.

“Whiling appreciating the role of security check-points on the nation’s highways in reducing crime, NEC equally notes the hardships haulage trucks and transporters face because of extortion by security personnel. The meeting enjoins the Inspector General of Police and other agencies whose personnel are involved to address the issue in the best interest of motorists and other commuters.”

It continued, “NEC tasks the Federal Government to tackle the problems of electricity supply with all the seriousness it can muster. It also urges government to enforce the directive on metering as Nigerians have been subjected to more punishment for being made to pay for energy not consumed.  The system of bulk payment to Electricity companies is callous and should be stopped without any delay.

“The soaring unemployment in the country is also an issue of urgent concern and NEC wants the federal government to immediately consider recruiting more workers in all the Federal Government Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals. And in doing so, priority should be given to junior workers and the Federal Character Principles be taken into account in the spirit of fairness, equity and national cohesion.

“NEC expresses worry with the high rate of inflation that has eroded the purchasing power of Nigerian citizens and thus increased their sufferings. NEC appeals to the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently evolve additional measures that will limit inflation in the country. The Federal and State Governments should also consider providing succour to citizens especially now that the rainy season has set in.

“Federal roads in the country have completely broken down and are now death traps. NEC appeals for a complete overhaul of the road network in the country and urges for a speedy rehabilitation of the rail system. A situation where road accidents take more lives than communicable diseases gives cause for concern.

“NEC expresses profound gratitude to the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for graciously approving the request to host the NEC meeting in Asaba despite the economic realities in the country. It applauds the Governor for providing quality leadership in Delta State particularly in the area of infrastructure development spread across the state and the capital, Asaba. NEC also commends the support of Governor Okowa towards the completion of the NUJ Press Centre Complex in Asaba.”

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