Ahead of the forthcoming general elections, the Nigeria Union of Journalists has demanded that all accredited journalists for the exercise be insured by their employers to guarantee their safety and security.
The National President of NUJ, Mallam Mohammed Garba, who made the demand during a courtesy call on him by a delegation of European Union Election Observation Mission, led by its Media Analyst, Mr. Marek Mracka, said, “We are concerned by the safety of journalists in Nigeria given the experiences in Osun and Ekiti states and party primaries in which journalists were assaulted. Their safety has to be guaranteed. We have set up a committee to ensure that any journalist that is accredited for the coverage of the 2015 elections must be properly insured. We have communicated this to relevant stakeholders, including media owners in Nigeria.
“There are challenges but the NUJ has engaged a number of international organizations to organize a workshop to ensure professionalism, security and safety. These are key issues we have noted ahead of the 2015 elections. We promise to give your team all the necessary support to ensure a free and fair election in Nigeria. The EU Observer Mission played active roles in the success of previous elections and we know that your roles in this period won’t be different.”
Garba added that the NUJ had trained over 600 journalists across the six geo-political zones of the country in election coverage.
He said, “We have trained about 100 journalists in each zone, making it 600 journalists. We also trained some others in conjunction with EU and United States Embassy. Journalism in Nigerian is very strategic; we fought for independence and military dictatorship to enthrone democracy in Nigeria.
“It is one professional body in this country that is committed to the sustenance of tis democracy in the country because we tried very hard to secure it. So when it comes to the issue of elections, the media has a critical role to play not only in Nigeria but the world at large.”
It will be recalled that the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) recently advised politicians to take up insurance especially at this crucial electioneering period, citing cases of recent attacks within the political circles.
The President of the council, Mr. Ayodapo Shoderu disclosed this through a statement by the council’s Public Relation Manager, Mr. Dele Ayelose noted that the election period is characterised by high level exposure to diverse human and material risks that could be mitigated if the political class facto in insurance into their plans.
The council also commiserated with victims of recent fire disasters in Iron Rod Market, Agodi in Ibadan and Balogun markets in Lagos.
Shoderu lamented the continuous loses of merchandise and properties in many commodity markets in the country to fire disasters, noting that such loses could be better prevented and mitigated if the victims had embraced insurance.
According to him, the market fires had deprived means of livelihood and survival to several market men and women who expectedly were breadwinners of their families.
Shoderu, noted that fire disasters further deplete the national wealth as most of the victims constitute a significant chunk of entrepreneurial class who are supposedly great contributors to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
His word: “The NCRIB is pained by the loss and we seize this opportunity to underscore the need for adequate preventive measures against fire disasters.
“This is why the economy is not growing. Insurance is the last hope of any human kind. If a loss occurs and insurance has been purchased, it puts the individual in better stead as if no loss was occurred. But where no insurance has been purchased, it causes a reduction in wealth by the amount of value of those insurable assets.
He nevertheless urged the government to embark on aggressive asset protection through public enlightenment about risk prevention and control in major market in Nigeria.
The council reiterated the call for compulsory insurance of all Nigerian markets and public edifices as enshrined in the legal provision under Insurance Act 1997 (section 64 and 65) of insurance of public buildings.
The council further said that it sympathized with victims of the twin fire incidents both in Lagos and Ibadan where properties worth millions of naira were lost.
It also pleaded with individuals and corporate institutions to always conform to extant fire laws in public places as well as avail themselves the benefits of insurance, particularly those that relates to fire and property.