Gyang Bere, Jos
Concerned by the risk exposure of journalists on the frontlines covering the COVID-19 pandemic, the Speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abok Ayuba, has donated palliatives to the Plateau Council of the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ)
yuba, who donated the items in Jos, described the treatment of journalists as frontline workers in the face of this COVID-19 pandemic as ‘unfair’.
The Speaker said that journalists were consistently exposed to serious risk in the course of their duty to educate the public about the pandemic.
‘We have been working with journalists and, as a young person, we know the important role you play in giving information to society,’ he said.
‘You have been informing people about what we do as their representatives and also been educating them about the dreaded pandemic.
‘You have always been in the frontline and, sincerely speaking, I would say the treatment of journalists has not been fair.’
He promised to discuss the plight of journalists in the state with Governor Simon Lalong to see how they would be able to assist them.
Ayuba added that apart from being journalists, media practitioners, like every other citizen, have families to take care of.
The Executive Director, Dynamic Orthotics and Prosthetics Nigeria Limited, Mr Zingak Deshi, who also donated palliatives to the NUJ, said that there was the need to provide support to journalists to enable them to deliver on their mandate.
Deshi said that journalists, who were foot soldiers in the fight against the pandemic, need to be first protected to enable serve society better.
The director told the NUJ that the organisation had provided 120 artificial limbs to Nigerians as a way of giving back to society.
Mr Paul Jatau, NUJ Plateau Council Chairman, said that journalists were not given the needed support like other frontline workers.
Jatau said that the Council decided to constitute a Palliatives Committee to seek for assistance from well-meaning Nigerians to aid journalists.
The chairman called on individuals and the government to support journalists in the face of the dreaded virus as they risk their lives.
He announced that not fewer than 17 journalists have so far died from COVID-19 while carrying out their duties.
Mrs Jennifer Yarima, Chairman, Plateau NUJ Palliatives Committee, thanked the Speaker for his kind gesture to support journalists in the state.
Yerima said that the NUJ was grateful to the speaker and the Dynamic Orthotics and Prosthetics Nigeria Limited for supporting the journalists.
‘You are the first person who had done this to us and we will remain grateful to you.
‘We pray God to bless you and, like Oliver Twist, we always ask for more if need be,’ she said.