Owerri – The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Mohammed Garba, on Saturday said subscribing to the union’s insurance scheme is now compulsory for all journalists in the country.
Garba said this while speaking at the lying-in-state and mini-church service organised for the late Mr Adolphus Okonkwo at the NUJ Press Centre at Owerri.
The late Okonkwo, who was the NUJ National Financial Secretary, died in a motor accident on Aug. 2 alongside two other journalists.
The dead journalists were returning to Lagos from Abuja after attending one of the union’s official functions in the FCT.
The lying-in-state and mini-church service were held at the Holy Ghost Parish at Abuke, in Ihitte Uboma Local Government Area of Imo.
Garba said the scheme became compulsory considering its exigency, adding that plans were underway to make it part of the conditions of being a full member of the union.
“It is regrettable that out of the three journalists who died in the crash recently, only one had an insurance cover. I call on all practising journalists to embrace the scheme forthwith,’’ he said.
The NUJ president also said the union would soon float an endowment fund to cater for the special needs of members.
He said some notable former journalists such as Sen. Smart Adeyemi and Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa would be members of the fund’s Board of Trustees.
Garba described the late Okonkwo as an astute journalist and an effective national executive council member and urged his family and colleagues to bear his loss with fortitude.
Earlier during the service, the Parish Priest of Catholic Church of Transfiguration in Ogun, Rev. Fr. Charles Soyombo, had said the late Okonkwo would be remembered for his good works.
“The late journalist left his footprints on the sands of time and I call on the rest of us to always realise the purpose of our living on the earth, pursue them and achieve them as well,’’ he said.
Soyombo described the deceased as an organised, optimistic, lovely and lively person who prepared his way by the good life he lived.
He advised all, especially members of his immediate family, to see his death as a glorious exit.
“When you leave good works on earth, people will never forget you. Those who do good works must never be afraid to die.
“Okonkwo lived a life of integrity, knowing that his good works will speak for him,” the cleric said.
Soyombo urged all journalists to continue to speak the truth and carry on their activities without fear or favour.