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Coronavirus: NUJ commends health workers, knocks government

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has commended all health workers in frontline combatting Coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The union made this known in a statement sent to POLITICS NIGERIA by the President, Chris Isiguzo on Monday.

“The union is indeed proud of what our homegrown medical practitioners and health workers have achieved so far in the fight against this pandemic, in spite of poor facilities, hostile working environments and frustrating conditions of service.”It also advised the government to invest more in the health sector.

“The obvious impact of this rampaging pandemic has made it more imperative for our hospitals to become more functional considering that everybody no matter how highly or lowly placed has now been circumstantially compelled to patronize our local hospitals”

It applauded “the professionalism shown by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu in particular and the SGF-led Presidential TasK Force on COVID 19.”

Speaking about journalists’ welfare, he said, “We also once more call on authorities and owners of media establishments to do everything possible to equip their reporters and provide palliatives for journalists across the country so as to reduce the risk faced at this critical time.”

“For debtor media houses, the Union reiterates that it will not continue to stand idly while journalists who work round the clock are owed several months arrears of salaries. Since its strategic engagements appear not to be yielding results as expected, the Union in the coming weeks may be forced to resort to either picketing of such media houses or take legal actions”.

Reacting to the lockdown extension, the union said: “Relaxing the lockdown order in some states for the commemoration of the Easter celebration was a dangerous gamble and the affected states are advised to avoid such errors in future. Governors of states where cases have been recorded but are still yet to order a lockdown are advised to do so as it remains better to err on the side of caution.

“Politicians are urged to watch closely and learn from what is happening all over the world, where politics has taken a back seat in all countries including the USA that has a general election this year,” it noted.

“As a result of experiences in the past in Nigeria, the NUJ wishes to put all on notice, that the Union as the watchdog of the society is set to raise at the background, high profile investigative reporters drawn from the print, electronic and social media to track, monitor very closely every income and expenditure of all funds raised for the purposes of managing the COVID-19.

“Our scope of coverage will cover all tiers and levels of government. It must be made clear that the NUJ will hold accountable all those saddled with the responsibility of handling public funds during this period”.

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