‘Journalism, Democracy ‘ll Benefit from Better Remunerated Journalists’

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

Considering the current trend in information dissemination particularly in a democratic society, the retiring National Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Shuaibu Usman Leman, has observed that both journalism and democracy would immensely benefit if practicing journalists are better paid and adequately equipped particularly in Nigeria.

Leman, who made the declaration at a retiring thanksgiving service held at ECWA 3 in Bauchi yesterday, however, hoped that the present NUJ national leadership would continue to struggle for better salary structure and modern working gadgets for working journalists in the country.

According to him, “The media is a dynamic industry, and dealing with journalists is equally very difficult, and I think some of the greatest challenges we have had, firstly, is the challenge of salaries and emoluments for journalists.”

He added that: “If you look at it, journalists are one of the set of professionals that are least paid in this country.”

Leman also said: “We have tried our best to ensure that salaries and emoluments are improved upon, and the conditions and welfare of journalists are properly taken care of.

“However, we have not succeeded as expected, and this is one of my greatest regrets, and I hope that those who come after us will continue with the struggle so that in no distant future, we will succeed in this regard.

“My belief is that when journalists are properly paid, they will perform optimally, and both journalism and democracy will truly benefit from this.”

The retiring national scribe of the NUJ also called on governments at all levels to make protection of lives and property of journalists a priority, adding that the gesture would be regarded as a special consideration for journalism which is pivotal to the development of democracy in the country.

He added that democracy would not flourish as expected in any society where journalism is retarded because journalists ensure that they engage the citizenry in debate, give a voice to the voiceless and allow citizens to talk back to those in government.

The outgoing scribe stressed: “And when there is absence of these in any democracy in any country, dictatorship takes place, anarchy sets in and a lot of confusion sets in.”

He expressed optimism saying: “So, I hope that the government will listen because despite repeated appeals we have made, nothing has come out of it.

“Journalists who have been attacked or killed right from the time of Dele Giwa to this time, no single culprit has been brought to book regrettably.”

Earlier, Rev. Ishaku Makeri of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) 3, English, Yelwa in Bauchi urged every civil servant to be diligent and committed to work so as to have a better retirement.

Makeri, added that there were more challenges for those still in service, and prayed as they all started well, so they shall end well in the service.

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