BY ALIYU DANGIDA
DUTSE – President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr. Muhammad Garba, has said the Federal Government was yet to redeem its pledge to the union during a fund raising ceremony for the building of a new secretariat in 2003.
In an interview with journalists in Dutse, Jigawa State, in continuation of his second term campaign tour, Garba said President Goodluck Jonathan through Vice President Namadi Sambo, pledged that the Federal Government would construct the building, adding, however, that the government has not visited the proposed site, how much more constructing the building.
Garba, who is also the President of West Africa Journalists Association, WAJA, stated that of the amount realised at the fund-raising dinner, the union was able to start some work at the site which included clearing, designing of the master plan on the structures as well as processing the Certificate of Occupancy, Cof O, pointing out that April 27, has been slated for the laying foundation.
The new secretariat, when completed, would also accommodate the Institute of International Journalism, IIJ, he said.
Garba said: ”Apart from what I have been vigorously pursuing, I can assure you that I never asked or requested any minister or political appointees to give me contract as some people may think.
”My mission is to bring back the lost glory of the union which has suffered setback from previous administration of NUJ leaders,” he added.
He promised to complete the giant project he initiated in his second tenure, as, according to him, this will reduce the amount spent on rent being paid by NUJ for its secretariat and the IIJ.
He pointed out that when he assumed office he inherited nine months salary arrears and outstanding rent amounting to N20 million which he later sourced for funds and settled.
His words:- “We have changed the face of the union through some of our programmes and policies which include the insurance scheme for journalists which by the year 2013 will be compulsory; the training and re training of our members.’’
Garba then solicited the support of all journalists in the forthcoming delegate conference, just as he charged them to be fair and objectives in the cause of carrying out their duties, assuring them of his readiness of continuing from where he stopped if elected for his second term.