NUJ calls out CBN on high inflation, laments suffering of Nigerians

COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE MEETING OF THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) OF THE NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS (NUJ) HELD IN ASABA, DELTA STATE ON FRIDAY 16TH APRIL, 2021.

Attended by National Officers and State Councils and the FCT, the meeting deliberated on issues of the Union and State of the Nation and resolves as follows:

STATE OF THE UNION

1. The issue of SWAN, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria was discussed exhaustively and NEC resolves that a seven Member Committee be set up to conduct fresh election for the Association within two months.

The members are:

1. Mohammed She, National Treasurer, Chairman
2. Edward Ogude, VP Zone F, Member
3. Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman, Lagos Council, Member, while two members each will be selected from the contending groups.

2. Having taken due cognisance of the immense contributions and efforts of the National President- Chris Isiguzo and his team towards moving the Union forward despite all odds, NEC passes a Vote of Confidence on him and his Lieutenants.

3. On the Vote of No Confidence passed by Chairmen and Secretaries of Zone B on their Vice President, Cosmos Oni over issue of his retirement from service, NEC resolves to set up a three member Committee to determine his status of re-employment and report within two weeks to the National Secretariat.

The National Secretaiat is mandated to implement the recommendations of the Committee without any further recourse to it. The Committee is made up of Abiodun Abdulkareem, National Financial Secretary as Chairman, Ladi Bala, National President of NAWOJ as Member and Michael Ikeogu, Chairman of Delta as Secretary.

Another Committee was also setup to look into the allegations against the Kwara State Council, to be headed by the Vice President of the Zone, Wilson Bako, the National Trustee, Ali Atabo and Ladi Emmanuel, National Ex Officio, as members.

4. On the issue of Ogun State council in which judgement was given against the Union, NEC directs that Status-quo be maintained pending the determination of the case on appeal. NEC condemns those members who took the laws into their hands and cautions against a repeat of such dastardly act.

STATE OF THE NATION

5. The continuous non payment of salaries of Journalists by some Media owners has again been reviewed by the meeting and NEC believes that this negative trend continues to impact negatively on the practice of journalism. Media owners who owe journalists should discharge their obligations in this respect, responsibly and as when due. A situation where some journalists are made to work for months without any salary is an aberration and should be condemned.

6. The meeting recalls that in May last year, the NUJ wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari appealing for a bail out fund for the media, primarily because of the Covid 19 Pandemic which has affected the global economy.

NEC in session appeals once more to the Federal Government to urgently intervene to save the Media Industry from collapse. It reiterates it’s earlier position that a vibrant and independent Media is germane in a democracy and as such it should be jealously guarded and protected.

7. In reviewing the contributions of TETfund to tertiary education over the years, NEC commends the Management of the intervention agency led by Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoro of doing an excellent job. NEC however appeals for injection of sufficient funds into TETfund to ensure a complete overhaul of the Nation’s tertiary education system. NEC believes that increase in tax collection would translate to more funds to finance projects in our tertiary institutions, thereby improving education quality.

8. Security challenges: NEC urges the Federal Government to rejig the Security apparatus to enable it effectively tackle these challenges, especially the insurgency in the North East, banditry and kidnappings, cattle rustling and other forms of criminality that have assumed dangerous dimensions, thereby making free movement of people, goods and services from one part of the country to another a difficult challenge.

To further strengthen the Security architecture, NEC also calls on the federal government to accede to the clamour for State Police to bolster the security system.

The meeting while looking at the challenges of banditry in the Northwest , applauds the approach of the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Muhammad Matawalle in the handling of the security situation in the State that has brought some form of respite and peace. NEC encourages more of such positive engagements as a means of eradicating such heinous acts by gangs.

The Union regrets the unprovoked killing of Nigerian soldiers while on assignment to help restore peace in some warring communities in Benue State and calls for proper investigation to fish out the culprits. However, NEC cautions against the use of excessive force in this process in order to avoid any collateral damages.

Whiling appreciating the role of security check-points on the nation’s highways in reducing crime, NEC equally notes the hardships haulage trucks and transporters face because of extortion by security personnel.

The meeting enjoins the Inspector General of Police and other agencies whose personnel are involved to address the issue in the best interest of motorists and other commuters.

9. NEC tasks the Federal Government to tackle the problems of electricity supply with all the seriousness it can muster.

It also urges government to enforce the directive on metering as Nigerians have been subjected to more punishment for being made to pay for energy not consumed. The system of bulk payment to Electricity companies is callous and should be stopped without any delay.

10. The soaring unemployment in the country is also an issue of urgent concern and NEC wants the federal government to immediately consider recruiting more workers in all the Federal Government Ministries, Agencies and Parastatals. And in doing so, priority should be given to junior workers and the Federal Character Principles be taken into account in the spirit of fairness, equity and national cohesion.

11. NEC expresses worry with the high rate of inflation that has eroded the purchasing power of Nigerian citizens and thus increased their sufferings. NEC appeals to the Central Bank of Nigeria to urgently evolve additional measures that will limit inflation in the country. The Federal and State Governments should also consider providing succour to citizens especially now that the rainy season has set in.

12. Federal roads in the country have completely broken down and are now death traps. NEC appeals for a complete overhaul of the road network in the country and urges for a speedy rehabilitation of the rail system. A situation where road accidents take more lives than communicable diseases gives cause for concern.

13. NEC expresses profound gratitude to the Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for graciously approving the request to host the NEC meeting in Asaba despite the economic realities in the country.

It applauds the Governor for providing quality leadership in Delta State particularly in the area of infrastructure development spread across the State and the capital, Asaba. NEC also commends the support of Governor Okowa towards the completion of the NUJ Press Centre Complex in Asaba.

Compiled by:
1. John Angese
2. Ishaka Dedan Donald
3. Ladi Emmanuel

Shuaibu Usman Leman
Walin Shadalafiya
National Secretary