Nigerian Guild of Editors calls for heightened government action on national security

*Urges military to speak out on abduction of editor

*Advises media against inadvertently given stimulus to terrorists

*Commends Gov Mbah's revolutionary projects in Enugu 

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has called on government authorities at all levels to intensify their efforts in addressing the escalating security challenges across the country, aligning with their constitutional duty to safeguard life and property.

While noting a decline in the overall security situation within the nation, the professional association of editors and media executives also recognized the government's endeavors to reverse this concerning trajectory.

Highlighting the recent successful release of students from LEA Primary School/Government Secondary School in Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State as a positive development, the Guild commended the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State, and security agencies for their collaborative efforts in securing the students' release after enduring three weeks in the hands of kidnappers.

In a communique issued and signed by the NGE President, Mr. Eze Anaba, and the General Secretary, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, after its Standing Committee Meeting held in Enugu, last weekend, (March 24 to 25, 2024, the Guild also called on the federal government to speak out on the Editor of FirstNews Newspaper, Segun Olatunji, who was abducted from his Lagos home by some men in military uniform.

The Guild, which demanded for the immediate release of the editor, said that any publication by the media, if believed or suspected to be false, should be interrogated and tested through the legal process.

The editors condemned the manner in which the editor was abducted, saying such action had no place in a democracy, especially under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government, which has consistently promised to be guided by the rule of law in all its actions, policies and programmes.

“The media/journalists must be allowed to continue to operate in an atmosphere conducive to the performance of their constitutional duty of holding government accountable to the people.

“Government or security agencies must not be perceived to be doing anything to the contrary, or attempting to stifle the media under a democratic government,” the NGE warned.

The Guild described the recent ambush and killing of 17 military personnel on March 14 in Okuama community, Delta State, and the aftermath alleged military’s revenge as disheartening.

It called on the federal government to dig deep into the killing of soldiers in Okuama, and unravel the “real circumstances” in which the incident and its aftermath occurred, with a view to bringing those indicted to book and preventing a recurrence.

While noting the rising cost of living in the country, which saw Nigeria’s headline inflation rate increase from 29.90 per cent in January to 31.70 per cent in February, the editors attributed the current harsh economic space to the worsening security situation, removal of subsidy on petrol, and the devaluation of the Naira, following the unifying of exchange rates.

The communique added, “The Guild observed measures by the Central Bank of Nigeria to reverse the falling value of the Naira, and urged it to ensure the results are long-term and not temporary.

The professional body also acknowledged initiatives by government at various levels to reduce the hardship in the country - through various palliatives and intervention schemes.

Such measures, it added, should not be beneficial only in the short-term, hoping that government policies, in the long run, will make life easier for the people.

The Guild, which commended the mass media for their resilience, amidst the harsh economic realities of the times, called on journalists to continue to perform their responsibilities with a sense of professionalism.

In the face of the nation's security challenges and tough economic ecosystem, the Guild urged journalists to be circumspect, and not sacrifice truthfulness in their reportage.

“The media must continue to carry out their responsibilities with a sense of nationalism, and be careful not to inadvertently give stimulus to terrorists/bandits in their reportage,” the editors added.

The NGE thanked the government of Enugu State for providing an atmosphere conducive for it to hold its Standing Committee Meeting in the state.

It noted the “landmark and revolutionary projects’’ initiated by Governor Peter Mbah, barely one year into his tenure, especially in education, health, provision of potable water, and road infrastructure.”

The Guild said that the initiatives were promising and urged the governor to see them to fruition and continue in such light.

The professional body had also noted similar initiatives by the Kogi State government, saying government is all about the well-being and security of the people.

It urged government at all levels to equally step up efforts in fulfilling their electoral promises to the people.
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