By COLLINS YAKUBU-HAMMER
ABUJA- The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off the over five months strike to allow students go back to continue their studies.
NUJ also called on the Federal Government to address issues of security, healthcare, food security, inflation, rule of law and intimidation of journalists in the country.
NUJ National President, Chris Isiguzo made the call in his state of the nation press conference on Thursday in Abuja.
“We have looked at the abysmal situation in the education sector with particular reference to tertiary education in the country vis-à-vis the five months old strike embarked upon by ASUU.
“We appeal to the leadership and members of ASUU to in the overall interest of the nation, accept some of the offers the Federal Government is proposing to allow for the resumption of academic activities in the universities.
“We can only remain and call ourselves Nigerians only on the premise of the fact that there is a country known and addressed as Nigeria.’’
He said a look at developments within the country, it “does not require beating the drums for any discerning and critical mind to know, understand and appreciate the need for an urgent appraisal to assist the country.’’
“The NUJ as a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian project, feels seriously concerned of the need for the Federal Government to quickly move more than ever before in addressing some critical areas of governance.
“On insecurity, it is almost becoming unbelievable the geometric rate of attacks by terrorists/bandits in different locations. The unfortunate development is certainly unacceptable particularly with the proportion and dimension insecurity has assumed in the country.
“The security agencies must rise to the occasion, especially in Imo where some arrests have been reportedly made with suspects making mind-boggling revelations of their sponsors. Such revelations should not just be ignored,” Isiguzo said.
The NUJ president said that just last Tuesday night, the audacity of criminal gangs was expressed in a daring raid on the Kuje Correctional Facility in Abuja.
According.to him, the Correctional Centre was breached for hours without any reinforcement being sent after the soldiers and other guards were overpowered.
“Before then, a Presidential convoy conveying an advanced party of officials for the Sallah visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Daura was attacked and it took the Presidential Guards much effort to repel the attackers.
“We commend the Federal Government, the Nigerian military and other security agencies for their commendable efforts in tackling the situation.
“We, however, appeal to the government not to be deterred but to continue in providing the needed support to the Armed Forces, Police and other security agencies in the fight against insecurity.
“The war will surely be won by Nigeria and the enemies of the country will be defeated,” he stressed.
On healthcare, Isiguzo said considering the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, it had become imperative for the provision of modern health care facilities and the upgrade of existing hospitals to acceptable world standards.
“This will help in reducing medical tourism to the barest minimum and also save the country the needed foreign exchange.
“It will also put a stop to avoidable embarrassments some of our top government officials suffer in the countries they go to seek medical interventions,” he said.
On the economy, he said Nigeria seemed to be the only country without mechanisms in place for price control of goods and services.
“No wonder, prices of essential commodities are galloping on daily basis thus, making cost of living unbearable for the people, especially the down trodden that are now unable to afford one meal per day.
“This calls for a serious and desirous review of the policies of some of the agencies of government that seem to be at variance with the good intention of the Federal Government.
“Simply put, agencies of government cannot continue to increase the cost of services without enabling laws to back such increases and expect cost of goods and other essentials to remain constant.
“There is therefore the need for a central harmonisation and control mechanism committee or panel that should be empowered by the presidency to always harmonise some of the policies of the different agencies of government.
“The present inflation rate cannot be sustained and or coped with by the people that are already at their wits end,” he said.
Isiguzo also called on the Federal Government to address violation of rule of law in the country, address food insecurity, bad roads and intimidation of journalists. (NAN)