The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) insist that the forensic audit ordered long ago in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) must be executed. The declaration is contained in a communiqué of the National Executive Meeting (NEC) of the Union held via Zoom last week. The Union also wants the FG to intervene in the media with stabilization fund like in the banking sector because journalists are in the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was attended by 70 persons made up of National officers, Chairmen and Secretaries of council’s. It was chaired by Chris Isiguzo, National President. After exhaustive deliberations, NEC resolved as follows:
On this, the NUJ called on the FG and the National Assembly to expedite action on the going audit of the Commission and findings made public. It notes that unlike other probes in the past where findings were subverted, shredded in secrecy and in some cases swept under the carpet, the NDDC must be repositioned to meet the cardinal objectives of impacting the lives of Niger Deltans and other oil producing states.
On security, the NUJ calls on the FG and the nation’s armed forces to arrest the increased killings by herdsmen across the country, particularly in Southern Kaduna and Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.
While commending the efforts of the military so far, it decries the situation where law abiding citizens have been rendered helpless and vulnerable to repeated attacks by armed gangs, thus disrupting their livelihoods and destroying properties unhindered.
In the same token, NEC calls on the Inspector-General of Police to check the unhindered mass movement of young men across the country despite the restriction, particularly to the Southern and Eastern parts of the country. This has created panic in these parts of the Country.
On the state of the Union, the NEC condemned non remittance of check off dues by councils to the national Secretariat and mandated its finance officers, VPs and Trustees to look at the books of councils with a view to knowing what accrues to state councils. This will help the national Secretariat to determine the percentage of remittance to the headquarters.
The meeting commended the National President of NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, for prioritising the welfare of members. It also notes with satisfaction visitations to State Councils by the President as it afforded him the opportunity of interacting with members and getting first hand information on their challenges and means of solving them.
Members also applaud the National Secretariat for the various trainings and foreign exchange programmes undertaken for members. Although the programmes were on self sponsorship, NEC encourages members to take advantage of such opportunities to improve themselves.
Media Chief Executives were encouraged to consider payment of salaries as a priority to make life easy for media workers . They should also look at ways of improving their revenue base rather than laying off their workers. The Union called on government to provide stabilisation funds to the media industry just as it did the banking sector some years back.
NEC approved that the National Secretariat should treat on individual merit the issue of suspension of some members and to lift such suspension immediately any member withdraws the court action against the Union.
NEC directs that a forensic audit be immediately carried out on the Pen Jewel/Abaren land accounts. It also reaffirmed its earlier position that Lagos State Council should use all legal means to retrieve funds contributed by Subscribers and return same to them.
The National Secretariat is directed to study and implement the report of its adhoc committee on SWAN aimed at resolving the lingering leadership crisis facing the Association.