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March 26, 2024

NGE expresses concern over growing insecurity


Eze Anaba

•Urges military to speak out on abduction of editor
•Advises media against inadvertently giving stimulus to terrorists
•Commends Gov Mbah’s revolutionary projects in Enugu

The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, has urged the government at all levels to step up efforts in addressing growing security challenges across the country, in line with their constitutional responsibility of securing life and property.

Observing a slide in the security situation in the country, the professional body of editors/media executives, however, acknowledged efforts by the government to reverse the troubling trend.

Pointing to the recent release of students of LEA Primary School/Government Secondary School, Kuriga, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, as a good development, the Guild congratulated the Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA, Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State and security agencies for their roles in securing the release of the students – after three weeks in kidnappers’ captivity.

In a communique issued and signed by NGE President, Mr. Eze Anaba, and the General Secretary, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, after its standing committee meeting in Enugu, weekend, the Guild also called on the federal government to speak out on the Editor of FirstNews Newspaper, Segun Olatunji, who was abducted from his Lagos home by some men in military uniform.

The Guild, which demanded the immediate release of the editor, said any publication by the media if believed or suspected to be false, should be interrogated and tested through the legal process.

The editors condemned the manner the editor was abducted, saying such action had no place in a democracy, especially under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government which had consistently promised to be guided by the rule of law in all his actions, policies and programmes.

‘’The media/journalists must be allowed to continue to operate in an atmosphere conducive to the performance of their constitutional duty of holding the government accountable to the people.

‘’Government or security agencies must not be perceived to be doing anything to the contrary, or attempting to stifle the media under a democratic government’,’ the NGE warned.

It described the recent ambush and killing of 17 military personnel on March 14 at Okuama community in Delta State and alleged military’s revenge as disheartening.

The NGE called on the federal government to dig deep into the killing of the soldiers and unravel the ‘’real circumstances” in which the incident and its aftermath occurred, to bring those indicted to book and prevent a recurrence.

While noting the rising cost of living in the country, which saw Nigeria’s headline inflation rate increase from 29.90 per cent in January to 31.70 per cent in February, the editors attributed the current harsh economic space to the worsening security situation, removal of subsidy on petrol, and the devaluation of the naira, following the unification of exchange rates.

‘’The Guild observed measures by the Central Bank of Nigeria to reverse the falling value of the Naira and urged it to ensure the results are long-term and not temporary.

‘’The professional body also acknowledged initiatives by the government at various levels to reduce the hardship in the country – through various palliatives and intervention schemes.

‘’Such measures should not be beneficial only in the short-term, hoping that government policies, in the long run, will make life easier for the people,’’ the Guild said.

The Guild, which commended the mass media for their resilience, amid the harsh economic realities of the times, called on journalists to continue to perform their responsibilities with a sense of professionalism.
‘’In the face of the nation’s security challenges and tough economic ecosystem, the Guild urged journalists to be circumspect, and not sacrifice truthfulness in their reportage.

‘’The media must continue to carry out their responsibilities with a sense of nationalism, and be careful not to inadvertently give stimulus to terrorists/bandits in their reportage,” the editors said.
The NGE thanked the government of Enugu State for providing an atmosphere conducive for it to hold its standing committee meeting in the state.

It noted the ‘’landmark and revolutionary projects” initiated by Governor Peter Mbah, barely one year into his tenure, especially in education, health, provision of potable water and road infrastructure.
The Guild said the initiatives were promising and urged the governor to see them to fruition and continue in such light.

It also noted similar initiatives by the Kogi State government, saying government was all about the well-being and security of the people.

The editors urged the government at all levels to equally step up efforts in fulfilling their electoral promises to the people.