The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, commended the courage and resilience of Nigerian journalists in promoting the tenets of democracy in Nigeria.
The governor, in commemorating this year’s World Press Freedom Day, said credit must be given to the press for the enduring democracy and its resilience in the face of daunting challenges as it kept informing, educating, and entertaining the people.
“Journalism Under Digital Siege”, being the theme of this year’s commemoration, the governor noted the harsh environment under which the Nigerian media was operating, and therefore, urged the Federal Government to allow subsidies and import waivers for media equipment.
He noted that this would assist the media industry in surviving the harsh economic environment and put it in better stead to contribute immensely to the socio-economic and political development of the country.
The governor also urged the press to remain steadfast in the discharge of its responsibilities, saying, “of all professions, it is only the Press that is empowered by the Constitution of Nigeria to hold governments and its functionaries accountable at all times.”
He, however, counselled the media to always exercise caution in reporting issues that affect the security, welfare, and wellbeing of citizens to avoid needless sensations.
Also, the Executive Director, Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF), Iliya Kure, has hailed journalists in Africa, and others around the world, for their resilience in the frontline practice of journalism, despite the attacks, threats, imprisonment, loss and blackmail.
In a press statement to mark the 2022 World Press Freedom Day, Kure added, “As we mark the 2022 World Press Freedom Day, we remember each of the 55 journalists killed worldwide in the last year (UNESCO figures), who died in the line of duty, or because of their journalistic practice.
“Today, we salute journalists in Africa, and others around the world, who remain in the frontline to practice journalism, despite the attacks, threats, imprisonment, loss and blackmail.”
He noted that over time, Press Freedom in Africa has remained an issue of concern, with high incidences of violations and attacks on the press by security agents, on the orders of people in authority, and sometimes by aggrieved members of the public, who take the law into their hands.
He explained that the day is set aside by the United Nations to serve as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to Press Freedom and also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.
The executive director explained that AMDF is concerned with increasing cases of harassment, arrests, imprisonment, torture and digital attacks on journalists for no other reason, other than doing their work.
He called on governments and security agencies in Africa to respect the freedom of the press at all times, and also called on journalists to adhere strictly to the code of journalism ethics each time they write their stories.
According to him, AMDF aligned itself with the 2022 theme, “Journalism Under Digital Siege”, which is a reflection of the many challenges confronting journalists in the discharge of their duties.
He stated that it is important because the trend of online attacks on media is significantly increasing, with women journalists worst hit, stressing that a recent statistic by UNESCO shows a shocking prevalence of harassment online, where nearly three-quarters of female media professionals had experienced online violence linked to their work.
FG Mulls Introduction Of Private Firefighters
The Federal Government says it is proposing to broaden the scope of the National Fire Academy to accommodate private firefighters to address fire incidents across the country.
The plan, if carried out, would lead to the emergence of private firefighters in the country.
Speaking after his first official inspection tour of the academy, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the fire service could have certified private firefighters like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps’ private guards.
He added that private firefighters were needed to enhance the fire service’s operations as well as improve their response time.
This was contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Alao Babatunde, yesterday.
The statement partly read, “Today, we have over 3 million private guards certified by the NSCDC. We can have something similar for the fire service. We need private fire service men to enhance our service and response time. The President’s #RenewedHope agenda has charged us to be innovative if we must change the narrative.
“As a matter of fact, this is another innovative way to generate revenue because we expect that anyone looking to become a safety or security guard should get trained and certified by this academy.”
Tunji-Ojo urged all institutions and recreation centres to engage certified fire and safety personnel trained by the academy when the plan materialises.
He said: “A lot has been done, but there is still a lot more to be done. With what I have seen here, I can guarantee you that we will work very hard to see that this facility will not only be useful in training officers of the fire service but also for the private sector.
“We must make fire safety a personal affair. Every institution, commercial and social recreation centre should have certified fire and safety personnel, trained by this facility.
“All public and commercial buildings and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, malls, restaurants, or even government buildings should have first responders that can administer basic fire fighting remedy while waiting for the arrival of a full operation squad of the country’s Fire Service”.
Decentralise Pipeline Surveillance Contracts, Ondo Ex-Militants Urge Tinubu
A group of ex-militants in Ondo State, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Tinubu to revisit the pipeline surveillance project and decentralise the awarding of the contract.
The group, under the auspices of the Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard, said decentralisation of the contract would enhance the security of pipelines on waterways.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the group, Chief Lucky Ajiroba.
The statement is titled, ‘Call on His Excellency President Bola Tinubu to re-visit the pipeline surveillance contract.’
The group faulted the last administration for awarding the contract to only one company, saying the purpose for which the contract was awarded was not achieved as the security situation of the pipelines was getting worse.
The statement read, “We are the members of Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard. The group led by Akogun Job Omotuwa comprises ex-militants in the state who voluntarily submitted their arms and ammunition in response to the good gesture of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the amnesty programme in the year 2017, and we have shown our unwavering allegiance to the terms of the amnesty initiative of the government.
“The overall effects of all these are: it has increased considerably the quantum of oil production, it has substantially increased the revenue accruable to the Federation account, and ultimately it allows peaceful coexistence among the people of the oil-producing communities of the country.
“We are aware of the sterling enterprise of this administration to improve on the security architecture of the Nigeria state and all its apparatus, with a particular reference to the pipeline surveillance and secured waterways.
“The last administration made a giant stride by awarding the pipeline surveillance to a sole company in the Niger Delta Area. It is not out of place to state that the purpose upon which the contract was awarded for was not achieved as the situation of the security of the pipeline was worse than ever before since their collaborative effort was not enough to support the constituted military authorities.
“The failure of this was ascribed to the centralization of the contract. In view of this perennial failure, there has been avalanche of agitation from every quarter that the pipeline security contract should be decentralized for the purpose of achieving the desired goal of the Federal Government which is in the best interest of the entire citizens.”
The group, which commended the President for its efforts in repositioning the country’s economy, opined that each ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta Region be identified, and the pipeline security contract be split among them.
Assembly Tasks Delta Govt On Rising Prostitution, Drug Abuse
The Delta House of Assembly has passed a resolution urging the State Government to take drastic measures against rising cases of drug abuse and prostitution in the state.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Mrs Bridget Anyafulu (PDP-Oshimili South) at plenary in Asaba.
Presenting the motion, Anyafulu decried rising cases of open sex trade and use of illicit drugs among youths in the state, especially in Asaba and environs.
“Open sex trade and use of illicit drug is not a good example for our children.
“The situation is worrisome considering the fact that both issues are illegal,” she said.
Anyafulu, also the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Community and Social Development said that urgent measures must be taken to address the situation.
“The twin evil of drug abuse and sex trade represents great danger to the lives of our young people and the society at large.
“They both underline the physical, mental and social well-being of our young people and this will also jeopardize the development, peace and security of our dear state.
“So, I want to state that no nation survives without the youth, the youth and the young general are the life wire of our nation.
“Any nation that ignores the youth is heading for doom, so the importance of the young people cannot be over emphasized, it is therefore very important that we address this ugly trend,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Oboro Preyor (PDP-Bomadi) decried the negative impact of rising drug abuse and prostitution, saying it must be addressed.
‘‘If this ugly trend is not addressed, it would attract more young people into their folks,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to rehabilitate youths who were addicted to drug and to create other avenues of engaging them in productive activities.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers when put to voice vote by Speaker Dennis Guwor.
The lawmakers also called for support from law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of illicit drug dealers and commercial sex workers in accordance with the law in order to curb the rising trend.
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