A passionate appeal has gone to the Rivers State government to assist the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, to Institute an insurance cover for practicing journalists in the state.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Rivers State NUJ Press Week at the Ministry of Justice Secretariat complex, Port Harcourt on Monday, November 21, 2011, Prince Emma Anyanwu, the CEO of Immaches Nigeria Limited, said this has become necessary due to the hazards of their profession.
According to him, the insurance cover will embolden the journalists to do their job without fear or favour.
Prince Anyanwu who announced an annual scholarship programme worth of N2,000,000 for practicing journalists in the state, added that the programme will begin from 2012 next year.
The Etche born politician who recalled that the press was an instrument used by our founding fathers to fight for independence, abolition of slave trade and colonialism, led by few print and electronic media like the Tribune, Pilot, Daily Times, Outlook, Eastern Guardian, among others, and to mobilize opinion against the imperialist and colonial masters.
Prince Anyanwu who noted that presently Nigerians are faced with various sophisticated crimes, illiteracy, environmental degradation, corruption in the private and public sectors and advance fee fraud which are challenges that required full attention of the media, urged journalists in the state and nation to use their pens to fight corruption and other atrocities in the society.
He urged journalists to be involved in developmental journalism and also condemn and commend government where necessary.
The CEO of Immaches Nigeria Limited who commended the Rivers State governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for his developmental strides in health, education, infrastructure, among others, noted that the Amaechi led administration has appointed three journalists in the state into positions of trust such as commissioner for information and communication, Chief Press Secretary to the state government, and chairman of Rivers State Civic Service Commission which would give access for journalists in the state to the government.
Declaring the event open, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communication Mrs. Ibim Seminitari, who noted the challenges of journalists have been the act of the Press Freedom, commended journalists for the their agitation which made the bill to be passed into law.
Hon. Mrs. Seminitari who noted that the state government has appreciated the work of the media in the state, assured journalists that the state was committed to assist them, appealing that the media should continue to partner with the government to achieve their desired objective.
In his speech, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, HRM, King, Prof. TJT Princewill, the Rivers Stat Chairman of the traditional rulers who appreciated the work of journalists in the state, said as traditional ruler and chairman of the body in the state, he would not run away from the press because they publicize his administration, describing journalists as his friends.
King Princewill who noted that apart from the good report of the press they also report negative news, advised the press to be objective in their report to avoid crises.
In their separate speeches, Senator Magnus Abe, Senator representing Rivers South East in the Federal House of Senate and Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree, the Speaker Rivers State House Assemby, RSHA, represented by the deputy Speaker RSHA Hon. Leyii Kwanee, urged journalists to always live up to their responsibility by being the watchdogs of the society, their primary duty, without fear or favour.
Earlier in his speech, Mr. Opaka Dokubo, the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of journalists, NUJ, who disclosed that the theme of this year’s NUJ Press Week celebration was “Freedom of Information Act: The Role of Media in National Development,” stressed that the press week celebration would enable journalists to come together as one.
Mr. Dokubo further disclosed that the Rivers NUJ chapter would use the occasion to give award to some persons who deserved them. urged journalists in the state to use their instrument to further the course of democracy in the nation, to move it forward.
The key note address was given by the guest speaker, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora on the theme, “Fol Act: The Role of the Media in National Development”.
Mrs Ibim Semenitary, Barr. Ipalibo Karibi-Botoye and Dr. G.B. Okon, spoke on the Industry Perspective, the Legal Perspective and the Academic Perspective, respectively, of the theme.###
Emeka Jilly Ejiowhor