3rd May, 2012
Malam Muhammad Garba, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Wednesday expressed concern over new threats by the Boko Haram to attack more media houses in the country.
Garba expressed the worry in Gombe while addressing Journalists in the state as part of his campaign tour to state councils of the union.
He said that the threat by the group would further expose workers in the industry to greater danger.
The president said the group must recognise that journalists and media houses in general, were only discharging their professional roles of reporting all issues and all sides of any disagreement.
The president appealed to groups, sects and individuals to support journalists to serve them better rather than intimidating them by issuing threats.
“We are having very serious threats in Nigeria as it is. We are having lots of challenges coming not only from the threats of the Boko Haram.
“If you look at the working condition, the environment, we are going through a difficult moment.
“Our environment will not provide us the opportunity to discharge our social responsibility as expected by the people.
“And such threats coming at this material time, I think it is unhealthy; because it will discourage us from performing our social responsibility as expected by the people.
“So what the media need at the present challenging period, is support from government, from organisations and individuals.
“It is only by giving us such support that we will be able to discharge our social responsibility as expected by the people, including the sect.
“We are now in the middle, the government is accusing us of giving over publicity to the Boko Haram and at the same time, the Boko Haram is accusing us of being biased.
“So, I think we are in dilemma, we are confused. The threat is going to further compound the problems of the media industry in Nigeria.
“And I think it is not going to be good for democracy, it will not be good for the development of this country,” Garba said.
He told members of the union that, when re-elected, he would ensure the completion of the new national secretariat of the union and continuous training and retraining of members.
The president also pledged to ensure compulsory subscription by all journalists to the insurance policy introduced by the union.
According to him, this is in view of the emerging hazards faced by the members in the course of discharging their duties.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Gombe State Council of the NUJ, Alhaji Alhassan Yahaya, assured the president that journalists in the state were behind his re-election bid.
Yahaya said the Gombe State Government had earmarked money in this year’s budget for the construction of a Press Centre in Gombe for journalists in the state.