Legal Nigeria

World Press Freedom Day: Obaseki, Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun, Ortom assure journalists of support

By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Gabriel Enogholase, Peter Duru & James Ogunnaike

Governors Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos and their Ogun State counterpart, Mr.  Dapo Abiodun, have assured journalists in the country of support in carrying out their duties.

Their Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, urged the Federal Government to consider subsidies and import waivers for media materials and equipment to aid and support journalism practice in the country.

They spoke in commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day, marked every May 3 by the United Nations and other sister organs in their respective states.

Obaseki, who spoke in Benin City, hailed journalists for their indispensable role in the development of the society, and reassured of  his government’s sustained support for journalists in the state to excel in their practice.

He said:  “This year’s World Press Freedom day presents yet another opportunity to salute our journalists for their role in the development of society, delivering truthful, unbiased and impartial reportage of events despite the threat and persecution they are faced with globally.

“The media as the fourth estate of the realm serves as a bridge builder between the government and the people, and must diligently embark on its duties upholding the ideals of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, balance, and other ethics that guide the profession. They must embrace responsible and development-focused journalism, ensuring unity, peace and development of the state and nation.

“On our part as a government, we will continue to guarantee a safe and conducive environment for journalists to freely and independently deliver on their duties without fear of being harassed and intimidated.

“Already, we have connected the secretariat of the state’s chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, to the state-backed Private Public Partnership, PPP, power solution – Ossiomo Power Company’s Plant in Benin City, for the supply of 24-hour electricity. 

”We will continue to support them to perform their roles in the development of the society, ensuring a prosperous Edo where all citizens are well empowered to realize their fullest potential.”

Sanwo-Olu  vows to encourage enabling environment

On his part, Governor Sanwo-Olu commended journalists for their commitment to professionalism in the discharge of their duties.

He said:  “Our administration will continue to encourage Press Freedom and provide an enabling environment for good journalism to flourish.

Calling on journalists to rededicate themselves to courageous and objective journalism, the governor said the theme for this year’s commemoration lend credence to the need for professionals to confront the surveillance and digitally-mediated attacks on journalists and their trade.

“The emergence of fake news, especially its dominance on digital and social media, has challenged the reputation of the profession as the channel of credible information.

“The state, being the biggest home of the media in Nigeria, will always ensure press freedom and encourage the Fourth Estate of the Realm to play its critical role in our democracy without any obstacle.”

We’ll continue to accord journalists due recognition —Abiodun 

Similarly, Governor Abiodun said he would continue to accord men of the pen profession a pride of place in his administration.

In a statement in Abeokuta by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, the governor noted that though the media work in hostile environment in some countries, they had been able to discharge their duties of informing, educating, entertaining and setting agenda, for development and growth.

Recalling that media played a pivotal role in making sure Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, Abiodun noted that the country owed its uninterrupted democratic rule to the media, that has kept public office holders on their toes.

According to him, efforts must be stepped up by the media practitioners to tackle fake news vendors and abstain from propaganda capable of truncating the security and peace in the country.

He reiterated that his administration would continue to create conducive atmosphere for the media to thrive and discharge their duties without fear or favour.

Consider subsidies, import waivers for media materials, equipment to aid journalism practice in Nigeria, Ortom to FG

Governor Samuel Ortom. On his part, urged the Federal Government to consider subsidies and import waivers for media materials and equipment to aid and support journalism practice in the country.

“In a goodwill message yesterday in Makurdi by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur to commemorate this year’s World Press Freedom Day, Governor Ortom said credit must be given to the press for the enduring democracy and its resilience in the face of daunting challenges to continue to inform, educate and entertain the populace.“While noting the harsh environment under which the Nigerian media operates, the governor said:   “The Federal Government should consider subsidies and import waivers for media equipment. This will help the media industry survive the harsh economic environment and put it in a better stead to contribute immensely to the socio- economic and political development of the country.”“He, therefore, enjoined the media to remain relentless in the discharge of its duties, pointing out that “of all professions, it is only the press that is empowered by the constitution of Nigeria to hold governments and its functionaries accountable at all times.“