The Nigeria Union Journalists (NAN) has called on the government and media operators to come up with Media Salary Scale for journalists to improve their welfare.
Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, Federal Capital Territory’s Council Chairman of the union, made the call in his address of welcome at the council’s 2021 Press Week and Award Ceremony in Abuja.
Ogbeche also urged them come with more incentives to motivate the journalists to further help them adhere to the ethics of the profession.
“There is one simple charge we want to give to the awardees and the government that the media in Nigeria has struggled for too long.
“We battle with poor working conditions and human right rights abuses.
“Just within a year of ranking 115, we are now rank 120 out of 180 countries on the freedom and safety of journalist index. That doesn’t speak well.
“We want to charge you that are in government and in particular, those of you in the National Assembly, that there is the urgent need for a media salary scale for journalists in this country,” he said.
According to him, the reason for doing so is that a weak media is a dangerous tool a compromise environment.
“If you do not do it, the dangers is that you will have to battle with fake news, misinformation of your political lives.
“The country is in a precarious situation and the only thing that can help is when journalists are treated right and a journalist can make progress, because, he or she is a journalist,’’ Ogbeche said.
The FCT council chairman stressed that as the National Assembly embarked on the constitutional review process, let them know that the constitutional guarantee in chapter 22 of the 1999 Constitution as amended was not enough.
“There is the need for government to uphold what is sacrosanct and constitutional that the journalists alone can hold government accountable to the people,” he added.
The National President of NUJ, Mr Chris Isiguzo, appreciated Ogbeche for the development of the Council’s Secretariat and taking the NUJ in the FCT to the next level.
He said that the security challenges bedeviling the country had become a source of concern to everyone including the journalists.
Isiguzo appealed to the Federal, state and local governments to rise to the challenges in the area of insecurity.
“Nigerians want to move freely in their own country and they want to make sure that they live in peace.
“The issue of kidnapping is a serious one that you cannot travel to Kaduna by road anymore. Something should be done. We need protection and need to be protected,” Isiguzo said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Isiguzo was represented by the Vice President of NUJ, Zone D, Mr Wilson Bako.
NAN also reports that past leaders of the FCT council and officials of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) appreciated Ogbeche and the executives for the development of the council.
Awards of excellent were given to different categories of people
The Awardees include Dr Ramatu Tijjani for Excellence on Political inclusion, Sen. Ali Ndume for Icon of Courage in Leadership, Rep. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha for Outstanding Female Legislator and Rep. Ndudi Elumelu for Excellence in Grass root Representation.
Others were James Ume for Excellence in Humanitarian Service, Mr Oludare Akande for Excellence in Philanthropy, Mr Andrew Lucky Elerewe for Excellence as Young Entrepreneur, and a posthumous award to Mrs Esther Uzoma.
On behalf of the Awardees, Elumelu, represented by Abdujelil Adebayo thanked the FCT Council for the award and pledged to continue doing the needful in the areas of endeavors.
NAN reports that the high point of the event was a cultural dance display by the Abuja Dance Troupe that put up beautiful performances to the admiration of all. (NAN)