Last year was a bad one for Nigerian journalists as 44 of them were brutally murdered.
The pathetic situation faced by media practitioners in Nigeria was revealed yesterday by the national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Chris Isiguzo.
He said 44 journalists in Nigeria were brutally killed in 2021 while scores were declared missing even as others are under serious threats.
Isiguzo spoke during the first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting and National Security Summit with the theme: “National Interest Amidst Insecurity – The role of the media”, organised by the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) held at Luxury Hotel, Lafia in Nasarawa South.
The NUJ president said the country would be a better place for all if media practitioners were given the opportunity to practice without encumbrances, describing journalists as the oxygen of democracy.
He expressed sadness over the way and manner journalists are maimed, brutalised while some were kidnapped or killed, adding that in 2020 no fewer than 200 media practitioners were killed worldwide.
Isiguzo, who appreciated NAWOJ for organising the summit for practitioners, said banditry and kidnapping are the mantra of the lead administration leading to the shut down of communication in states like Zamfara.
The NUJ president said the primary responsibility of a “responsible government is securing the life and property of the people, adding that the most affected in the insecurity in the country are women.
Isiguzo called on the corps marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to call the sector commandant of Nasarawa State to order for keeping the national president of NAWOJ, Ladi Bala, for four hours on the highway.
He warned that the impunity being meted on journalists must stop, especially in this democratic era.
While urging journalists to consider national interest by reporting positive occurrences in the country.
Bala, in her welcome address, thanked the governor of the state for creating an enabling environment for all to live and work.
She expressed worry over the rising spate of banditry and kidnapping, stating that insecurity has disrupted the diversification of the agriculture sector.
“The diversification of agriculture is a mirage due to the increasing cases of kidnapping,” she said.
Bala said peace and harmony had been eroded while the economy was dwindling, adding that the cumulative catastrophe of the nation was being felt by all.
The governor of Nasarawa State, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, applauded NAWOJ for the choice of the state, The secretary to the state government (SSG), Barrister Abdullahi Ubandoma, who represented him, expressed optimism over the success of the summit.
Governor Sule said security remains everybody’s business and attributed the choice of the state for the summit to its peaceful nature.