Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) yesterday expressed deep worry over the worsening insecurity in the country, saying that it was not a sign of development.
President of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo stated this in his address at the opening ceremony of the National Executive Council meeting of the union holding in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
He lamented that the nation was being inundated by news of insecurity thereby putting Nigerians on edge as blood continue to flow and properties destroyed.
The NUJ national leader lamented that the wave of murderous activities ranging from insurgency in the North-east, banditry in the North-west, herdsmen attacks in North-central and the new surge of kidnappings in the South-west had continued to gain momentum.
He noted that no zone in the country had immunity against insecurity as herdsmen attacks and kidnappings were already spreading into both South-east and South-south zones.
“These are not good signs that we are making progress,” he said, adding that government should rise up to the challenge of protecting lives and properties of Nigerians.
Isiguzo warned that if the insecurity situation continued unabated whatever progress Nigeria had made over the course of its national life would be eroded and its unity impaired.
He said that journalists were facing daunting challenges in the discharge of their constitutionally assigned duties due to the failure of media owners to pay salaries and provide other incentives.
The NUJ president assured that his administration has put in place new measures to ensure that journalists discharge their duties professionally with guaranteed safety, adding that a national monitoring network for safety of journalists had become operational and would be replicated at state levels.
Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Ude Oko Chukwu, said that he was impressed with the “pivotal role” that members of NUJ have continued to play in sustaining peace and harmony in the country.
“If there is any time that this nation needs the services of journalists more than ever, it is now that insecurity is pervading the nation,” he said, adding that journalists should endeavour to emphasise things that strengthen bonds of unity while playing down divisive issues.
However, the Abia governor said that even with the spate of insecurity in the country, his administration was committed to doing its best to ensure the security of lives and properties in God’s Own State.
He advised that journalists should desist from glorifying criminal activities and hyping violent activities in such a manner that it would engender reprisal attacks thereby worsening the situation.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Pastor Ralph Egbu charged NUJ leaders and members to be in the vanguard in the search for ways to make Nigeria a progressive and productive nation.
“Time had come to clearly define the type of Nigeria we want in order to make progress and journalists should lead the way,” he said.
Egbu, who is a veteran journalist and former Abia Commissioner for Information and also Secretary to Abia State Government, insisted that NUJ, as a critical stakeholder, must begin to intervene positively in national affairs by asking critical questions and demanding answers.