By Silas Onuoha
As Nigerians go to polls this Saturday, the National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Chris Isiguzo has called on the Election Management Body, INEC to ensure a smooth, free and fair process where the people’s choice will emerge as President of the Country. This he said is very important and necessary for the unity, progress and development of the Country.
Comrade Isiguzo also appeals to politicians to stop overheating the polity ahead of the election through blackmail, hate speeches, spreading of fake news, use of intemperate language, vote buying and use of violence.
He notes that the Nigeria Union of Journalists National Secretariat in furtherance of its roles of promoting our democratic culture has opened an Elections Situation Room at the headquarters of the Union in Abuja ahead of this Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The National President, who heads the Situation Room is expected to receive reports from Journalists on election duty on acts of impunity against the media through dedicated telephone numbers to be provided to all the 36 State Councils of the Union and the FCT.
The President cautions that Journalists must be alert at all times while on election duty. Specifically, Isiguzo advises Journalists in the field to work together with other colleagues in groups and warns them to avoid any area where they feel insecure or threatened.
The NUJ according to Isiguzo, in realisation of the need to promote safety of Journalists and peaceful elections through professional coverage of elections, had in collaboration with the Election Management Body – INEC and Centre for Democracy and Development – CDD organised series of workshops late last year on Conflict Sensitive Reporting and the 2023 General Election for Journalists across the Country.
He particularly appeals to the Federal Government and all States of the Federation, to take effective measures for better protection of journalists while on election duty. He frowns at a situation where those in authority deliberately use Security Personnel or other Freelance non State Actors to threaten Journalists or out rightly attack them and their equipment.