Abia state NUJ lacks basic facilities, says state chairman
Even without external assessment, Abia State Chapter of Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) has posited that it lags behind other state chapters as its secretariat needs total overhaul.
Chairman of the state chapter, Comrade John Emejor, stated this during it 2016 lecture series, which forum he said provided journalists in the state opportunity to bring accomplished professionals to rub minds and use the same platform to take stock of activities, including giving the public access to assess their performances.
At the meeting, a renowned journalist and two-time state Information Commissioner, Chief Ralph Egbu, delivered a paper on “Media and National Development,” which as chaired by the Commander, 14th Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ohafia, Brigadier General Lawrence Fejokwu, who charged journalists to tread with caution by reporting events and disseminating information objectively. He lauded the cordiality prevailing between his command, journalists and the people of the state.
Egbu said without the media, governance structure would be greatly hindered and a society that cannot hear itself would definitely hit the rock, as the role of the media has improved beyond informing, educating and entertaining.
Towards enhancing the role of the media in national development, Egbu made seven-point recommendations to include reviewing of communication curriculum in all schools and colleges, establishment of a National Institute for Communication Art, provision of Insurance Cover for Journalists, provision of capitalization funds for media houses and improvement on national media legal platform.
He suggested that practitioners should occupy all public and private offices on information only.In his remarks, Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, Mr. Apollos Enyinnaya, urged journalists not to be government’s praise-singers but to report objectively, saying, “Journalism work goes beyond what government is doing or has done. A lot is happening on the streets outside government; it is a commendable act of patriotism that despite arrears of owed salaries, journalists still do their work”.
NUJ Chairman, Comrade Emejor, said despite that journalists in the state individually and jointly resolve to operate in line with the ethics of the noble profession, “Abia State NUJ remains the only council/chapter throughout the federation that still operates in rented apartment.
His words, “Our landlord must be paid once our rent facilities expire. A few weeks ago, about half of the rent was made available to us and we appeal for more assistance. Our secretariat needs total overhaul – the chairs, tables and other office furniture are weeping for replacement, hence we welcome and treasure assistance from any benevolent quarter that would enable us address the scenario even as we would appreciate a mini business centre”.
According to Emejor, some journalists in the state have not been paid salaries since this year. He, therefore, urged their employers to pay them when due, adding, “Without fear of contradiction, I posit that journalists are not only agents of change, they are also workaholic, working round the clock each day and even at odd times but unfortunately, after stressing themselves to no end, their salaries and allowances are hardly paid on time”.