As part of the activities marking the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), yesterday called on the government to create an enabling legal environment for press freedom.
The Guild, in a statement in Lagos jointly signed by the NGE President, Ms Funke EgGeneral, Ms Victoria Ibanga, also recognised the efforts of media practitioners, inspite of challenges
“On this auspicious celebration of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day, we bring warm felicitations to our colleagues and friends across the country and around the world, as they continue to shine the light of truth on humanity.
“It is also an occasion to congratulate all journalists around the world especially those in Nigeria and indeed, Africa, on their resolve to weather the storm to remain afloat, in spite of harsh economic conditions and environment,” it said.
The World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.
The objective was to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression, enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Since the Declaration of Windhoek, the anniversary is celebrated annually worldwide as World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
According to the NGE, the 2018 edition calls for sober reflection as it also affords practitioners the opportunity to assess the state of press freedom and state of the media in the country.
It also presents an opportunity to empathise and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the course of performing their constitutional responsibility, as well as those in different prisons all over the world.
“We join all well-meaning organisations, such as the United Nations (UN) to call on the government to create an enabling legal environment for press freedom.
“We call on government to give special attention to the role of an independent Judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and the prosecution of crimes against journalists.
“It is also important to mention that impunity and all forms of oppression and molestation must stop. More importantly, governments must begin to treat the Media as an ally in development and nation building,” the NGE stated.
The group pointed out that the history of Nigeria cannot be written without a mention of the role the media played in the struggle for independence, enthronement of democracy and promotion of social justice and human rights.
“Having acquitted itself thus, its operators and indeed, journalists, do not deserve to be treated with anything less than respect and decorum in the course of performing their constitutional responsibility,” the Guild said.
It called on governments and the political class to recognise the role of the Media in sustainable development, especially during the forthcoming elections – as a watchdog fostering transparency, accountability and the rule of law.
“We reiterate the fact that it is the responsibility of governments and relevant institutions to protect journalists from physical harm and intimidation.
“Regrettably and in all fairness, all is not well with the media industry in Nigeria. The cost of production materials is having a devastating effect on daily operations and the survival of the media in general.
“This development, no doubt, has affected payment of monthly emoluments of media workers, thus creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and in effect, reducing the general morale of journalists in the country,” the group stated.
The NGE also lamented how the media industry had supported all other sectors of the economy, but was left to bear the brunt of everything that has gone wrong with the economy.
“It is important to call the attention of all on a day like this that a nation whose economy does not and cannot support the economy of it is media industry cannot thumb its chest that its press is free.
“A broke Media industry has no press freedom and is, therefore, far from being free, for as long as the economic shackles are firmly in place.
Bello’s Gunmen After My Life, Family -Kogi Dep Gov
Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba yesterday alleged that the governor of the state has sent gunmen after his life.
Acbuba called on the inspector General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Army and other security personnel to safeguard his life, family members and his aides.
Achuba, who spoke with newsmen at his official residence in Lokoja said, “From all information at my disposal, the governor has mobilised gunmen to attack me.
“I want the police, SSS, IGP to know that if anything should happen to me, my family and aides, the governor should be held responsible.”
The deputy governor likewise called on the President to beam his searchlight on the state.
LGAs Responsible For Farmers, Herdsmen Clashes In Nigeria -UN
Zebulon Takwa, Peace and Development Adviser, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, says poor Local Government administration is largely responsible for farmers-herdsmen clashes in Nigeria
Takwa, who gave the position in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Abuja, expressed concerns over “weak operational structures at the local government level’’.
He said that issues that were supposed to be addressed by local administration authority were left unattended to over a long period.
The UN official noted that most of the issues that escalated to crises ought to have been resolved at the local level by the authorities, traditional and religious leaders.
He decried the situation where structures for such prompt amicable settlement were not effective enough to prevent conflicts.
Takwa condemned the situation where most local government officials migrated to urban centres instead of concentrating on their primary responsibilities of settling crises, developing infrastructure and social amenities, among others.
Reprisal Killing: Taraba Police, Tiv, Junkun Differ On Casualities
The Police Command in Taraba State has said that only one individual was killed in what appeared to be a revenge for the alleged murder of a Junkun man yesterday.
While the Tiv claimed that no fewer than nine of their kinsmen were killed in Takum town, Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State on Tuesday, the Police said the figure was not true.
Takum is the hometown of Governor DariusIshaku who turned 65 today.
Multiple sources in Takum said trouble started yesterday morning when a Jukun man was killed on his farm along Takum-Wukari road, and irate Jukun youths in Takum went on the rampage, killing at least eight people in the town.
A resident of Takum, Mr. Nathaniel Jato, in a telephone interview with our Correspondent said the eight people killed in Takum town were all Tiv resident in the town.
“We counted at least eight dead bodies around General Hospital Junction and Zenith Bank around the Wukari roundabout.
“We were told that many people were killed around Rimi Primary school area, but there is tension, so we can’t go there.
“The Caretaker Chairman of Takum Local Government Council, ShibanTikari, has assured us that the situation will not escalate, but I am afraid the situation might degenerate if adequate security measures are not put in place,” he lamented.
Jato, who said there was threat that their houses would be attacked in the night, called on Governor Darius Ishaku and security authorities to quickly restore peace in the area to pave way for proper investigation of the matter.