NGE demands release of Segun Olatunji, decries growing insecurity 

They condemned the way the editor was abducted, saying that such action had no place in a democracy, especially under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government.

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NGE demands release of Segun Olatunji, decries growing insecurity 
Segun Olatunji, First News Editor

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has urged government at all levels to step up efforts at addressing growing insecurity across the country, in line with their constitutional responsibility of securing life and property.

This was contained in a communique  signed by NGE President Eze Anaba, and the General Secretary Iyobosa Uwugiaren, after its Standing Committee Meeting held in Enugu.

Observing a slide in the security situation in the country, the professional body of editors and media executives, however, acknowledged efforts by government to reverse the troubling trend.

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The body acknowledged the recent release of students of LEA Primary School/Government Secondary School in Kuriga, Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, as a good development.

The Guild congratulated the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State and security agencies for their roles in securing the release of the students – after three weeks in kidnappers’ captivity.

The Guild also called on the federal government to speak out on the whereabout of the Editor of FirstNews Newspaper, Segun Olatunji, who was abducted from his Lagos home by some men in military uniform.

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

They condemned the way the editor was abducted, saying that such action had no place in a democracy, especially under the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government.

The editors contended that the administration had 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, in Delta, as disheartening.

It called on the federal government to dig deep into the killing of soldiers in Okuama and unravel the circumstances in which the incident and its aftermath occurred.

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.

They also attribute the rising cost of living to removal of subsidy on petrol, and the devaluation of the Naira, following the unifying of exchange rates.

“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 should not be beneficial only in the short-term; government policies, in the long run, should make life easier for the people.”

The Guild commended the mass media for their resilience amidst the harsh economic realities of the times, and 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 its responsibilities with a sense of nationalism and be careful not to inadvertently give stimulus to terrorists/bandits in their reportage,’’the editors added.