Tunde Bolaji – Minna.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state has reiterated his administration commitment to the freedom of the press and constructive criticisms.
According to him it was the fulcrum of every striving democracy and sustainable development.
He explained that constructive criticism is the lubricant that oil the wheel of government machinery.
The governor made these remarks when he received the National executives of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) led by its National President Chief Chris Isiguzo at the Government House in Minna, the State Capital.
Governor Sani Bello noted that genuine criticisms were meant to expose the lapses of government and other political office holders in order to redirect them.
He emphasised the importance of abiding by the social responsibility role of the press, adding that his administration will continue to work with media and journalists for the good and development of the State and the country at large.
On hate speech and social media bill, the governor called on the executives of the union to ensure that only professionals, who know the guiding principles of the profession are allowed to practices.
He pointed out that “the media space, especially the social media sphere has been adulterated with uncultured and poorly skilled journalists who are creating a huge vacuum in the reputation and integrity of journalism as a profession.”
He tasked the media Practitioners to exhibit responsibility by supporting the modest achievements of the present administration, adding that everyone has a role to play in the development of the society.
Governor Sani Bello further expressed appreciation for the support the media Practitioners have been rendering to his government, restating that his administration remains committed towards completion of all ongoing projects before the commencement of new ones.
He said having observed the poor maintenance culture that has contributed to the decay in most sectors, his administration will remain focus on cultivating the character of continuity and sustainability in government that has to do with the completion of existing projects and most importantly, maintaining and sustaining those that have been concluded.
The government-owned media houses he went on assured that even though he has committed huge resources on them, his administration will again, give them a facelift to stand the test of time.
The governor however directed that the commissioner for information and strategy to gets on his toes to ensure that this was done.
He decried the attitude of some government officials that show lackadaisical attitude towards government properties, nothing that public officers should own up to government office just like their personal affairs to give it credibility and achieve the desired results.
Earlier in his remarks, the National President,the Union Chief Chris Isiguzo stated that the union was on tour round its councils across the country to interact and maintain regular interface with its councils across the Nation.
The NUJ National President appealed to the governor as the Patron of the North Central zone to join in the crusade for the support and quick consideration of the Media Welfare enhancement bill for consideration by lobbying the lawmakers and members of the National Assembly from the state to ensure
that the profession is given its pride of place, while the welfare of practitioners is given priority instead of advocating social media regulatory bill and the hate speech bill which he said will cause damage to our nation.
He also called on the Governor to consider the transformation of the state media houses so as to provide staff conducive working environment to tell the good story of his administration’s achievements.
Chief Isiguzo then commended the Governor for the tremendous successes recorded so far in various sectors of the state and for appointing one of our members, Mrs Mary Noel Berje, as his Chief Press Secretary.
The National President who noted that there has not been any report of journalist clampdown in the state since his assumption in office disclosed that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello would next year be selected as one of the Champions of Press Freedom following his cordial relationship with the media practitioners.