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Bagauda Kalto’s murder; stakeholders advocate special emolument for media

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Donatus Okpe

Donatus Okpe

Bagauda Kalto’s murder; stakeholders advocate special emolument for media

The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Kogi State chapter is worried about the plight of media practitioners who actually fought doggedly for the enthronement of democracy but have now become victims of the same system.‎
Many journalists have paid the ultimate price carrying out their mandate in recent times yet the authorities seemed not to be concerned about the welfare of the families they left behind as they wallow in poverty, rejection and deprivation.
Speaking during a 2-day Symposium organized by the union in collaboration with the office of the special adviser to Governor Yahaya Bello on media and strategy on good Governance the erstwhile General manager of the Graphic newspaper Donatus Okpe recalled the gruesome murder of Mr. Baganda Kalto of the News magazine in the 80s.
According to him, “We were together in Durba Hotel when security agents confronted him and they took him away. Later when there was a bomb blast the security said the person who died in that bomb blast was Baugauda Kalto and we refuted it that he could not have been the person because we went to the scene of the incidence and the person we saw was not Bagauda.”
He insisted that all the clothes worn by him in his life time he knew them because they were close to each other.
“All I am saying is we have to rise to the challenge of addressing the problem of poverty in journalism. Because our families are always at the recieving end when there is a turbulent time. We were known to be the fighters for the actualisation of democracy.”
He said Kalto was taken from his room in Durbar Hotel Kaduna and murdered during the Abacha dictatorship and so far, there were no clues yet as to who killed the reporter three decades after.

In his words, “I was a member of the team that visited late Bagauda Kalto’s family in Biliri in Gombe State and I found them in a miserable poverty and I was wandering, I say oh with this kind of background it should have cautioned Bagauda to have exercise restrain but I realised that it was a ptofessional calling for him.
“I also realised that he was a pro-democracy activist and that whatever he did was like a sacrifice for the restoration of democracy. I dont believe that democracy has rewarded some people who fought for democracy.”
He reiteratef the fact that it is those who did not fight for democracy that are the biggest beneficiary.
“Apart from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who named a press center after Bagauda Kalto I don’t know of any other person that has done something for that family even when the issue was discussed exuastively at the Oputa’s panel and there were indications that injustice was done to Bagauda nobody and I dont know what the beneficiaries of democracy did for that family.
“I expected the Governor of Gombe then Abubakar Habu Hashidu to have done something even when we presented the issue officially to him between 1999 and year 2000. Nothing tangeable was done for that family and it is not yet late.”
Okoe indicated that Bagauda died and left two daughters behind.
Worst of it all he said the family has been neglected to the extent nobody knows their whereabouts at the moment.

The catalogue of Journalists who died in active duty is frightening; Bayo Ohu of The Guardian newspapers, Abayomi Ogundeji of ThisDay newspapers and others in recent times.

Okpe was reacting to a paper on Good Governance: constitution, Media and freedom of information presented by Barrister Usman Sule at the symposium where he canvassed for a special salary structure for the media considering the risky nature of their mandate.

The former ‎General manager admonished the practitioners to be conscious of their dignity by ensuring they work within the ethics as politicians would always come around seeming to be allies but only to use them and dump them.

The paper presenter Barrister Usman Sule indicated that from history no institution had sacrificed more in the fight for good governance in Nigeria than the Nigeria media‎.
‘Invariably they have been the most persecuted and vilified by the authorities in power.’
He said media of any nation is regarded as the fourth estate of the realm hence it’s mandate of serving as the watchdog of Government activities.
“The press is also expected to enlighten the citizenry of those occurrences, proffering solutions to socio-cultural and economic challenges. In so doing the press is shaping the mindset of the populace and in effect the policies of Government.”
The special adviser to the Governor on media and strategy Abdulkareem Abdulmalik asked the media to continue to do the work with diligence as good will is better that the brown envelops.
He said the media fight for every other profession but cannot fight for itself saying that practitioners in Kogi have demonstrated that the job can still be done with dignity as they have carried out their mandates without asking for anything.
He said it was that spirit that motivated him to convince his principal to make the symposium a success.

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Insecurity: HURIWA asks FG to account for $1bn drawn from ECA for weapons

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Insecurity: HURIWA asks FG to account for $1bn drawn from ECA for weapons

A pro-democracy and non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari account for what his administration did with the $1 billion that it took from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in the name of purchasing and procurement of combat weapons.

This is coming agaisnt the background that the minister for information, Lai Mohammed had accused the international weapon sellers of refusing to sell arms to Nigeria.

Besides, the Rights group, however, canvassed for the aggressive training of the operatives and officers of the Nigeria Police Force to embrace the skills of intelligence gathering and proactive policing rather than the dominant reactive methodology they are using to enforce the law.

HURIWA, therefore, urged Nigerians never to get tired of providing support and solidarity for the members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria as they increasingly get involved in the intensive campaigns and war against terrorists and the diverse segments of armed non-state actors that are unleashing bloody violence against civilians all over the country.

“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to do all he can to sufficiently equip the men and officers of the Armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We are by this statement demanding that President Muhammadu Buhari provide the fuller accounts of what this administration did with the $1 Billion that it took from the nation’s escrow account in the name of purchasing and procurement of combat weapons.

“Nigerians want to know what was bought with that humongous amount if the government has admitted publicly that it is finding it difficult to procure arms to battle the armed Islamists of Boko haram terrorists?”

In a statement signed on Thursday in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said one of the causes of the increasing crimes rate is the dearth and lack of intelligence gathering capacity on the part of most police operatives and officers who ought to lead the process of crime-fighting and law enforcement.

The Rights group argued that the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has in the last four years failed to build up the intelligence generating capacity of the police.

“It is unbelievable that armed and violent criminals are allowed to roam freely all around the Country and to continuously unleash devastating and bloody violence on the citizenry but the operatives of the Nigerian Police seems to be gravely ill-equipped with the 21st-century compliant policing skills which must of necessity include the effective deployment of capacity to generate intelligence and to build a formidable data bank of useful tips and information so as to be able to fall back on such abundant actionable materials to tackle crime.

“The Nigerian Police still operate as if we are in the 18th Century era because the police lack the technology to fight crime, the Nigerian Police lacks the scientific facilities like fingerprints devices to stop criminal on their track before they strike but every year humongous budgetary releases are made but it seems that the Country is grossly under policed and unsecured, ” HURIWA said in the statement.

HURIWA wondered what kind of police will wait for a citizen to first be killed before they will shamelessly announce to us that the suspected killers have been apprehended.

HURIWA added that in Nasarawa and Ondo States, the APC Party Chairman was killed and a first-class traditional ruler was murdered by armed non-state actors, but the Police which could not prevent these violent crimes from happening will only rush to the media to announce to us that the killers have been arrested.

“This reactive form of policing like people groping in the dark is not sustainable and has no capacity to check the high crime rates. The Nigerian Police Force and its hierarchy should update their knowledge of making the police effective through proactive strikes of criminals before they attack, ” it added.

HURIWA, therefore, tasked the authorities to fine-tune and rejig the policing strategies in the country because as, the police has proven incapable of combating violent crimes, and this lacuna and incapacity to play the routine policing duties has overburdened the Nigerian Army to partly go into internal security operations rather than concentrate and wage a relentless war against terrorists threatening to tear Nigeria apart.

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Yueltide: FMWH reopens closed section of Murtala Muhammed Bridge in Kogi

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Yueltide: FMWH reopens closed section of Murtala Muhammed Bridge in Kogi

By Friday Idachaba

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing has reopened the closed section of the Murtala Muhammad Bridge, Jamata on Abuja-Lokoja highway to ease movement of traffic movement during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

Engr. Kajogbola Jimoh, Federal Controller of Works in Kogi State disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lokoja.

Kajogbola said that though the rehabilitation work on the dual carriage bridge was yet to be completed, a substantial part of it on Lokoja-bound portion had been done and could be reopened to traffic to address heavy vehicular movement during the festivities.

According to him, what remains for the Lokoja bound bridge to be completed is to change the damaged expansion joints which have to be ordered from abroad adding that the contractor has some constraints in this area.

“Presently, all other works are completed and we have asked him to cover the edges of the old expansion joints so that when the new ones arrive, he will simply remove the old ones and replace them with new ones.

“If the closed section is not opened, Nigerians will suffer during this festive period and that is why we are insisting that they should open it for now till when the contractor is able to get the new expansion joints”, he said.

Kajogbola said he collaborated with Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Corridors Commander, Sector Commander and other officials to remove the barricades and redirect the traffic all in the presence of the contractor’s representative.

He pointed out that the reopening was an interim arrangement saying, “This is just temporary reopening, the work is for two years and the contractor has not spent up to a year.

“So, it’s just to let Nigerians know that the Federal Government cares for them and that we are working and to tell them what stage we are on the project.

NAN reports that the bridge which is currently under rehabilitatinon/ maintenance work, being handled by Hallekem Ltd., had only one functional 2-lane carriageway in use before this reopening.

The Controller appealed to motorists to be patient, resist temptation to drive against traffic and to keep their vehicles in good condition to avoid break down. (NAN)

FDJ/

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Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chiefs

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Senator Opeyemi lampoons Buhari over refusal to sack service chief

The senator representing Ekiti Central Micheal Opeyemi Bamidele has asked President Muhamadu Buhari to respect the resolution of the National Assembly that he should sack the service chiefs without further delay.
The senator while contributing to the motion on the beheading of 67 farmers in Borno, by Bokoharam insurgents: Need for Urgent, Decisive action pleaded with the service chiefs to voluntarily resign based on national interest.
He said they can then wait to be appointed as Presidential Advisory Panel on security.
“For me the number one resolution that I will like to reemphasize on this floor of the senate is for the President to allow the service chiefs to go, they have done their best, they have worked so hard, the best anybody can give is his best.
“You cannot give what you do not have and if the President believes so much in these service chiefs he should remove them as service chiefs and constitute them as Presidential advisory committee on security matters and they will still be there to be advising him and let the younger ones take over as service chiefs to move the country forward.
He said, “It is yet another moment when we run the risk of Nigerians looking at us as a group of elected representatives who sit in the red chamber to shed crocodile tears but we know that is not what we do.
“We are victims of certain circumstances that make it look like that. There is probably nothing any of us could say here today that has not been said, the only thing that is new is that more people have been killed in most barbaric manner. Yet we have to say something as representatives of the people.
“We are unhappy about what happened in Borno, Katsina and Niger States and some Northern parts of the country. Even in the South South, south East and south west where people are being kidnapped, there are some forms of insurgency.
“In Ondo State just last week a paramount ruler was killed. My own contribution is this, let us stand on existing resolution, in addition of course to the prayers that the mover of this motion made clear to us.
“Fighting Bokoharam cannot be something we do by habit, it cannot become part of our national life, it cannot become what we budget for year in year out as a routine.”
He lamented that the war was becoming a routine adding that there is a need to bring it to an end as lives are being lost on a daily bases.
He also made refrence to a constitutional provision in section 14(1)b which defines the primary purpose of Government to be the welfare and security of the people.
“We all agree that this is not being fulfilled and where a Government is deemed to be in breach of section 14(1)b the Government is also automatically seen to have breached section 32 and 34 of our constitution which provides for the right to life, right for personal liberty, and life against torture.
“These are things that goes together once you fail to fulfill the provision of section 14(1)b so what are we talking about let these service chiefs go.
“If the President would not remove them we call on these service chiefs in the interests of the public to resign and look forward to being appointed as members of Presidential committee on security. So this is one contribution that I really want to make.”
He also made reference to the budget of over N800b set aside for all of the armed forces, whereby more than 60% of it is specifically tailored towards prosecuting the war against insurgency.
“I believe before this budget is passed it is either the president come to address this parliament on the way forward on how to address the security matter or we hold a joint session and do a public hearing and allow Nigerians an opportunity to also speak to this issue.
“I dont think it should be a question of us sitting down to pass this budget it should not be business unusual.”

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