By Jonathan Eze
The chairman of Senate Committee on Local Content, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), has pledged to sponsor a bill in the Senate for the protection and adequate welfare for journalists in Nigeria in the performance of their constitutional role in nation building.
Making the pledge at a media interaction with members of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at Ikeja over the weekend to kick start his re-election campaign for the largest senatorial district in Nigeria, Senator Adeola, who sponsored 15 bills in the 8th Senate with two of them passed by the National Assembly as constitutional bills, said he is motivated in making this pledge as a result of the fact that most of the major media establishments in Nigeria have their headquarters and origins in his senatorial district with many journalists as his constituents adding that it is deplorable that in the performance of its constitutional duty as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the profession of journalism suffers from poor remuneration, non- payment of salaries for months by media owners as well as danger to their personal safety.
“As part of my legislative agenda for the 9th Senate if elected, I want to double the number of bills that I sponsor for passage by the Senate. I will be working with you, NUJ to sponsor a bill for the welfare of journalists in Nigeria. The bill will address by law the issue of salary of journalists in terms of adequacy and sanctions for non- payment over long periods without any consequences, security for journalists in course of their duty as well as compulsory insurance. The issue of media salary scale for journalists should also be backed by legislative enactment” he stated.
He stated that his stint of over 10 years in a media organisation in the finance department gives him an insight into the financial and other challenges facing journalists in Nigeria stressing that as a profession constitutionally recognised, the profession should have some leverage in terms of remuneration, protection and other guarantees.
Adeola stated that in all the areas of functions of a lawmaker at the highest legislative body, he has discharged his duties creditably to merit re-election for a second term adding that in addition to his bill sponsorship and active participation in debate at plenary, three of his motions led to investigative committees pursuant of the oversight function of the parliament.
“I have organised two major town hall meetings and empowerment programmes for my constituents and the third one will take place before the end of the year. I facilitated 10 500KVA Transformers, 28 Boreholes, several 18 –Seater Toyota Buses for stakeholders like Obas, Council of Baales, CAN, League of Imams, LASU Student Union and LASU among other groups” he stated.
He said to generate employment in the informal sector, he facilitated four Entrepreneur Development Programmes for Youths and Skills Acquisition for Women adding that this was complemented with donation of income generating equipment like block moulding, welding, vulcanizing and grinding machines in hundreds for beneficiaries.
Earlier in a welcome address, Abdul Akinreti, the chairman of NUJ, Lagos Council commended the senator for making it a tradition of kicking off his campaign from the NUJ interaction adding that there is need for the senator to do more in the area of welfare of journalists in Nigeria with many journalists as his constituents either as residents or workers in the largest senatorial district in Nigeria.