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The Planned Salary Structure For Newsmen

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The former  Information and Communications Minister, who was re-appointed yesterday, Mr. Labaran Maku, recently rekindled the hope of newsmen working with government-owned media organisations that their future is still bright. Indeed, he re-assured media workers that moves were still in the offing to review upward their salary structure in order to beef up their monthly take home pay.

Addressing the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) who called on him in his office in Abuja, Maku asked the NUJ not to lose sleep on the issue of a better pay package, as obtains in advanced countries and other developing nations.

Besides, Maku, while addressing the leadership of RATTAWU (Radio, Television and Threatre Workers Union), who visited him in his office, not too long ago, also assured the union that everything humanly possible was being done to bring to reality the proposed pay rise for media workers. However, the minister did not say exactly when government will make good its promise (which has lingered on for years), that it would review upward the salary structure of newsmen in government establishments.

One can recall that over the years, the issue of having a special salary structure for journalists in public service has been a subject of public discourse. Indeed, newsmen working tirelessly with government-owned media organizations have literally (in the past years), wailed to the authorities to place them outside the current remunerative system of federal and state governments, and make the journalism profession more attractive in public organisations.

Sadly, their cries had, as it were, fell on deaf ears. How? Successive regimes in the country (for inexplicable reasons), failed to pull “government journalists” from the shackles of the current civil service salary structure.

Yes, it is an incontrovertible fact that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), the umbrella body of journalists, has for many years, been insisting that its members, working with government-owned media, should be placed on a special salary structure to make them have a sense of belonging. But the effort of the union did not pay off as successive administrations continued to treat the matter with levity.

Perhaps, touched by the cries of newsmen, specially the NUJ, Prof. Dora Akunyili, the former Information and Communications Minister, last year, set up a committee to draw up a special salary structure for media men, working with government owned organisations.

Receiving the report of the committee while she was in office, Prof. Akunyili said time has come in this country for journalists in government media to have a special salary scale, such as nurses, teachers, lawyers, doctors, among others. She noted that the absence of a special salary structure was affecting the psychic of government newsmen.

The minister, thanking the committee for a job well done, assured journalists that the report would be critically studied for onward submission to the appropriate authorities for implementation.

To effectively consolidate the gains in the information sector in the country, it behoves the appropriate authorities to have ensured the immediate implementation of the Prof. Akunyili’s proposed media workers’ salary structure in the country.

One believes fervently that it is high time that government at various levels recognize the immense contributions of journalists to national development; moreso, as they are seen and recognized as the ‘fourth estate of the realm’.

That is why everything must be done to make government employed journalists happy and comfortable to enable them, as “watchdogs of the society”, have a sense of belonging and spur the nation’s desired development through sound information dissemination system.

Happily, the current leadership of the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications has played its part by working out a special media workers salary structure ostensibly to boost the morale of journalists, working with government-owned media.

But, the ministry’s approval of a new salary package for newsmen does not really count. The workability of the approval lies in the implementation of the new salary structure by the governments at the various levels.

This is why both the authorities of the ministry and the NUJ must prevail on the various governments in the federation to ensure the approval and implementation of the proposed media workers salary structure. That way, the effort of the ministry in working out an acceptable salary structure for journalists would not be an effort in futility.

Agreed, journalists are not the only group in the civil service to be given such preferential treatment. But given the kind of jobs they do, as ‘Agenda Setters, Voice of the Voiceless and Conscience of the Society,” they (journalists) need to be encouraged (through good salary package) so that their mental and physical well-being will be in proper shape at all times.

Well, it is necessary at this juncture to point out that this is certainly not the first time efforts have been made to pull journalists from the civil service remunerative system. Indeed, past administrations in conjunction with the NUJ, made some palpable moves in this regard, but their efforts did not pay off, as recommendations for new pay rise for journalists were not implemented by the authorities concerned.

Therefore, the federal information ministry, especially the committee that worked assiduously to map out the proposed pay rise, must ensure that it appeals to the conscience of all relevant government agencies so that the implementation of the new salary structure would not be halted by the various governments at all levels.

It is public knowledge that the brain-drain being experienced in government-owned media organizations, is as a result of poor take-home pay in the journalism profession. Sadly, the best brains in journalism profession are already drifting to private media organisations to seek for greener pastures. This is unfortunate, to say the least!

It stands to reason, therefore, that to retain the best brains in government media establishments, the ministry’s recommendation on journalists’ special salary structure must be given the attention it deserves.

But, can the Information Minister ensures the implementation of the proposed special salary scale before he leaves office?

This is the mind-boggling question, now being asked by media men, given the short period left for the minister.

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UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers

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As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.

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Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0

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Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment

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The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.

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