Security operatives in the country have been urged to ensure safety of journalists on election duties towards the success of the 2023 polls.
The President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo, gave the charge while briefing journalists on the outcome of the National Executive Council meeting held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The NUJ president also called on state governments across the country to provide a level playing field for all political parties by giving equal opportunities and access to public facilities for campaigns.
While condemning the recent spate of attacks on facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in different parts of the country, the union leader urged the security agencies to arrest the ugly situation by taking pro-active precautionary measures and apprehending and prosecuting perpetrators.
“The outcome of the 2023 general elections is very crucial to the welfare and wellbeing of the country and its citizens, therefore no effort should be spared to ensure the success of the exercise and the protection of our nascent democracy”, he said.
He disclosed that the union had set in motion a series of training programs for journalists on conflict sensitivity to adequately equip reporters to effectively deliver on their mandate as one of the critical stakeholders in the electoral process.
The NUJ President commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) for partnering the union in this regard, adding no fewer than 2000 journalists are expected to benefit from the scheduled training programs before the elections next year.
Comrade Isiguzo who is also the President of the Conference of African Journalists (CAJ), pledged the commitment of Nigerian journalists to the entrenchment of democracy in the country and urged politicians to play by the rules of the game.
While advising journalists to be professional and avoid being part of the channels of the dissemination of fake news and hate speeches, he cautioned politicians to tone down their unwholesome rhetorics by engaging on issues based campaigns rather than mudslinging and character assassination.
He described as unacceptable the rising cases of electoral violence even before the elections proper and entreated the security agencies to quickly swing into action and nip evil development in the bud.
Furthermore, the number one journalist in the country said that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the union frowned on the engagement of non professionals as spokespersons and strongly advised that only registered practicing journalists should be appointed as Commissioners of Information, Chief Press Secretaries, Press Secretaries and Publicity Secretaries of governments, ministries, agencies, departments and political parties.
By: Opaka Dokubo
Protest Rocks Kano Over Appeal Court Judgment
Protests erupted in Kano city and its environs on Monday afternoon with the demonstrators denouncing the recent judgment of the Court of Appeal that sacked the state Governor, Abba Yusuf.
The Tide’s source reports that uneasy calm pervaded the state capital following a contradictory Certified True Copy of the Appeal Court that affirmed the prayers of both the appellant and the respondent in the contentious Kano governorship, though the judiciary had since cleared the air.
In what appeared like a coordinated action on Monday, huge crowd of protesters had stormed strategic positions in the city as it visited temporary hiccups on commercial activities.
Kano- Zaria Road, Maiduguri Road by Muhammadu Buhari’s interchange, and Kantin Kwari (Kano textile market) were taken over by hundreds of youths who called for justice for Abba Yusuf.
Some of the placard read: “Kano my city my state”, “Justice for Kano”, “ Justice for Abba”, “Abba’s mandate was stolen in 2019, we will not allow it happen in 2023″.
The protest came on the heels of discovery by the Police that “some faceless group are bent on unleashing violence in Kano”, stressing that the police were on top of the situation.
Cp Hussaini Gumel told newsmen in Kano on Monday that already 7 suspects had been arrested and would be arraigned soon.
Gumel revealed that “we have the understanding with the leadership of the contending political parties, and they have signed a peace pact. In view of that, therefore, any one found outside this arrangement will be treated as common criminal”.
However, normalcy had since returned to the ancient city following the peaceful protest that lasted several hours.
NASS To Receive Tinubu’s 2024 Appropriation Bill, Today
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will today, present the 2024 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Secretary, Research and Information of the National Assembly, Dr Ali Barde Umoru, confirmed this on Monday to journalists while requesting the list of those to be allowed into the chamber during the budget presentation.
This will be the first budget estimate President Tinubu will present to the National Assembly in person.
He had earlier transmitted two supplementary budgets, 2022 and 2023, to the National Assembly, which the parliament speedily approved.
President Tinubu had, weeks ago, also forwarded to both chambers of the National Assembly, the 20224-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) where the sum of N26.1 trillion was proposed as the total expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year.
The Senate, following the recommendation of its joint committee, which scrutinised the document, approved the MTEF/FSP.
It approved the N26.1trn proposed as the 2024 budget and other parameters as proposed by President Tinubu.
It approved the new borrowings of N7.8 trillion, pegged the benchmark of oil price for 2024 at $73.96, and oil production volume per day at 1.78 million barrels.
Other parameters approved are a GDP growth rate of 3.76%, an inflation rate of 21.40%, an exchange rate of N700 to $1 dollar, and a projected budget deficit of N9.04 trillion.
Muslim Clerics Offer Prayers For Tinubu, Kwankwaso In Kano
Over 1,000 Islamic clerics have offered special prayers for President Bola Tinubu and the NNPP national leader, Rabiu Kwankwaso, for peace, progress and political stability in Nigeria.
Abdulmumin Kofa (NNPP-Kiru/Bebeji) hosted the ulamas at Kiru for the success of Governor Kabir Yusuf of Kano State at the Supreme Court, according to a statement by the lawmaker’s media aide, Sani Paki, on Monday.
During the prayer session, the clerics recited the Qur’an 1,101 times and prayed for peace, progress and political stability in the country.
Mr Kofa said his relationship with the president was no secret, noting that Mr Kwankwaso is his mentor. He said he would continue to support and promote a harmonious relationship between Messrs Tinubu and Kwankwaso.
Mr Kofa described NNPP as a promising party open to collaboration, alliance and merger with the APC and even with the People’s Democratic Party, Labour Party or any other party that showed interest, so long as it is for the good of Nigerians.
He also promised to deploy his modest political network to reach out to gladiators in Kano politics towards resolving all resolvable issues and to de-escalate the current tension in the state due to the Kano governorship seat.
Also, after the prayer session, the legislator hosted 5,000 primary school kids across his constituency, as he often does, and provided them with school kits.
According to the statement, Mr Kofa assured the pupils of the good plans of the federal and state governments, especially on free education and free school feeding programmes.
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