7th July, 2010
Union leaders have urged the National Assembly to pass the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI) without further delay.
The leaders told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the passage of the bill would ensure a free flow of information and also protect journalists in the country.
Their comment came against the backdrop of a report that 59 journalists were killed across the world between January and June this year.
Mr. Wahab Oba, Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lagos State Council, said the passage of the bill would enhance the performance of journalists.
“It will ensure a better performance by journalists and give them access to information,â€™â€™ he said.
According to Oba, the non-passage of the bill has further endangered the lives of media professionals and their news sources.
“It is very unfortunate and frightening that many journalists had been killed in the performance of their constitutional duties.
“The incident poses serious danger to the profession as well as the lives of practising journalists in Nigeria,â€™â€™ the union leader stressed.
Oba deplored the killing of journalists particularly in Nigeria, saying “it is a bad omen for democracy and the countryâ€™s future.â€™â€™
He called on media organisations to provide insurance scheme and security for their workers.
Mr. Raphael Akinyanju, General Secretary, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR), reiterated that FOI bill would help with the risks associated with journalistsâ€™ job.
He urged the government to ensure an enabling environment for media professionals to practice their trade.
NAN recalls several Nigerian journalists were killed in the last 10 years including Guardianâ€™s Bayo Ohu and Tunde Oladepo and Thisdayâ€™s Godwin Agbroko and Abayomi Ogundeji, as well as Omololu Falobi, formerly of Punch Newspaper.
Countries which have the highest figures of journalists killed are Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Iraq, Nepal, Columbia and the Philippines.