Lokoja – A former board member of the Nigerian Television Authority, Alhaji Isa Ozi-Salami, has urged media workers to use the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to hold leaders accountable and expose corrupt public holders.
Ozi-Salami made the call in Lokoja at a special luncheon held to round off the 2011 Press Week of the Kogi Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He expressed dismay that journalists had not made adequate use of the opportunities provided by the Act to expose corrupt practices, noting that a lot would have been achieved if the FoI Act had been employed to expose corruption.
Describing corruption as a cankerworm which had continued to impede national development and stunted its democratic process, the former board member urged journalists to stop complaining but stand up for the truth and expose evil in the society.
He said that sham elections, imposition of candidates as well as the lack of fair play and respect for the genuine wishes of the people had undermined the security of the country, and accused all the political parties of being guilty of these offences.
Ozi-Salami charged journalists as vanguards of the pre-independence struggle and the installation of democracy in the country to fight the cankerworm which, he said, had permeated every sphere of the citizens’ national life.
Earlier, the Chairman of the state council of NUJ, Alhaji Alli Atabor, had expressed regret that in spite of the patriotic and selfless efforts of journalists, journalism was the least appreciated among the professions in Nigeria.
He noted that some people still addressed journalists in derogatory terms such as “press boys” and added that “with the peanuts we are earning as salary, I dare say there is a deliberate ploy to hold us down as professionals.
“After fighting for the society, the same society has chosen to turn its back on us. We have asked for better remuneration for our members, but no one seems to be interested in doing something.”
In a lecture, the General Manager of Graphic Newspapers, Lokoja, Mr Donatus Okpe, emphasised the need for professional rebirth among journalists, starting from dressing code to the issue of gratification.
Okpe called for constant training and re-training of journalists to enable them to attain the full height of their profession and urged journalists to disregard religious and ethnic biases in the discharge of their professional duties.
13 persons received merit awards on the occasion. (NAN)