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Press Day: NGIJ Calls on Government to Strengthen Press Freedom in Nigeria

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Nigeria Guild of Investigative Journalists
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As the world commemorates the global Press Freedom Day on May 3, the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has called on the Federal as well as state governments in Nigeria to ensure that the media is independent and journalists are truly free to practice without any fear of intimidation or persecution. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The guild said journalists are a critical partner in nation-building and should not be gagged, intimidated, harassed, maimed or killed for doing their lawful duties as guaranteed by the Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution, Article 19 of the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The NGIJ made this call in a statement on Sunday in Lagos signed by Mr Israel Bolaji, the guild’s Vice President (Information and Strategy).

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Calling for a more strengthened press freedom and release of detained journalists, the guild said, “According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, about 250 journalists worldwide are currently behind bars.”

“In Nigeria, between January 2019 and November 2019, the Media recorded at least 71 attacks including arrests, detention, intimidation and killings”, according to The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), a coalition including Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, International Press Centre (IPC), HEDA Resource Centre, Nigerian Union of Journalists NUJ and SERAP.

“The popular cases of Agba Jalingo, Abiri Jones, Peter Okutu, Chijioke Agwu and others also readily come to mind. Detaining journalists for doing their job runs contrary to the obligation to ensure an enabling environment for the media. The criminalization of journalism must end. That should start with releasing journalists from detention in Nigeria urgently. “

Bolaji noted that journalists go through difficult hurdles to get the nation informed. “For example, under the current circumstance of the global Covid-19 pandemic, journalists risk their lives as front liners to source accurate information which are shared with people to help make well-informed health decisions that can make the difference between life and death.

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“As the pandemic spreads attacking over 3 million people globally and over two thousand in Nigeria, the press has contributed significantly by sharing verified, scientific, fact-based news and analysis. This helps in countering the scourge of misinformation, stemming from sensational health advice and conspiracy theories.”

Urging journalists not to relent, NGIJ said the media must remain professional and known for providing facts and insightful analysis; for holding leaders – in every sector – accountable; and for speaking truth to power.

“We call on governments to protect journalists and to strengthen and maintain press freedom, which is essential for a future of peace, justice and human rights for all, Bolaji concluded.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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NGIJ’s Call to President Tinubu: Address Economic and Security Concerns Before Nigerians Take to the Streets

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The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has calls on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his All Progressives Congress led-administration to swiftly address pressing issues relating to the economy and security of the country, before Nigerians take to the streets. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, jointly signed by the President and National Secretary of The Guild, Mr. Ayoyemi Mojoyinola and Abdulrahman Aliagan respectively.

“We believe that urgent action is needed in order to prevent further deterioration of these crucial aspects of Nigerian society to avoid street protest that may have negative effect on the nation at large. NGIJ stated.

According to the statement, “We implore the Tinubu led-government to immediately put an end to the dollarisation of the Nigerian economy.

“We noted that the excessive reliance on foreign currency has had a detrimental effect on our nation’s economic stability and is hindering the growth and development of local businesses.

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“It is vital that steps are taken to promote the use of the Nigerian Naira and protect its value.” The Guild said.

“Secondly, we request that the government formulates a comprehensive policy to mitigate the impact of the Fuel Subsidy removal. This decision has burdened Nigerian citizens with high fuel prices and has resulted in increased living costs for many. It is imperative that measures are put in place to alleviate the financial strain on the Nigerian people.”

NGIJ however expresses concern regarding the distribution of the N15,000 palliative. “We firmly believe that this aid will be marred by corruption and will not reach those who are most in need. It is crucial that efficient and transparent mechanisms are established to ensure that relief funds reach the intended beneficiaries.

“Additionally, we urge the government to consider policies that are inclusive and benefit all Nigerians. It is imperative that measures are implemented which take into account a wide spectrum of the population, ensuring that they have access to essential services and a decent standard of living.” NGIJ maintained.

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The Guild pointed out that the issue of insecurity in Nigeria has reached extreme levels, causing distress and fear among citizens.

“No place is safe, and urgent action must be taken to address this matter effectively.

“We call upon the government to prioritise the security of its people and implement strategies that can restore peace and stability throughout the nation.

“Finally, as a body of Journalists, we implore President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to provide sustainable solutions that will guide Nigeria out of its current economic and security quagmire. It is crucial that decisive action is taken to steer the country back onto the right track, both economically and in terms of security.” It said.

The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) stands ready to support the government in addressing these critical issues and will remain vigilant in ensuring that the interests of the Nigerian people are upheld.

“We therefore call on President to consider our recommendations and take immediate action to propel Nigeria forward towards economic prosperity and security of lives and property in Nigeria. The statement concludes.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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NGIJ Mourns Access Bank Holdings’ CEO, Herbert Wigwe, Ogunbanjo

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The Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ) has consoled Access Bank Holdings over the tragic death of their Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. Herbert Wigwe and his family. push({});

This is contained in a statement jointly signed by President and National Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists (NGIJ), Ayoyemi Mojoyinola
and Abdulrahman Aliagan respectively and made available to journalists, Monday in Lagos.

According to the Statement, This tragic event has sent shockwaves throughout the nation, as Dr. Herbert Wigwe was a highly respected and prominent figure in the Nigerian banking industry. His leadership and commitment to excellence have contributed immensely to the growth and success of Access Bank Holdings.

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“The loss of Dr. Wigwe, his wife and eldest son is indeed a great loss to the business community, the banking industry, and the nation at large. Their untimely demise leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. We mourn with the Access Bank Holdings family, who have lost not only a dedicated leader but also a mentor and friend.”

As journalists devoted to unbiased and thorough investigative reporting, NGIJ recognizes the importance of highlighting the contributions and achievements of individuals like Mr. Wigwe. His visionary leadership, innovative strategies, and passion for the growth and development of Access Bank Holdings have set an exemplary standard for others in the industry. The statement said.

“The NGIJ extends its heartfelt condolences to the entire Access Bank Holdings family, and we stand with them during this time of immense sorrow. We pray that God grants them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and provides solace and strength to overcome this challenging period.” The statement said.

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The Guild prayed that the Almighty God will grant soul Wigwe, his wife, and son eternal rest.

Similarly, NGIJ also mourns former Group Chairman of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Abimbola Ogunbanjo who also passed on inside the chopper crash alongside Wigwe.

The Guild acknowledges Ogunbanjo’s service to the nation, building world and nation building.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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Shocker, as FCSC Reverses NBMA Director’s Promotion granted 3 years ago

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The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) is enmeshed in confusion as the promotion of Dr. Rebecca O.J. Oamen, the Director of Administration and Finance, has been reversed by the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) three years after it was granted. push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

This shocking event is as a result of the conflict centering around Dr. Agnes Asagbra, the Director General of NBMA, and Dr. Oamen, who are on one side of the dispute, and several other top civil servants on the other.

According to sources, the disagreement began when Dr. Asagbra allegedly facilitated the appointment of Mr. Ehikhamenor Steve Ehiochoya from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) as the agency’s Director of Administration and Finance.

According to sources, Dr. Oamen had voiced her concerns regarding the appointment to several government offices, including the OAGF, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, the Ministry of Environment, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offices Commission.

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However, in a document obtained by our reporter, Dr. Oamen was redeployed to the FCSC as an accountant in the deputy director cadre, implying a demotion. This transfer is contradictory to Dr. Oamen’s previous promotion to a substantive director by the NBMA board.

Documents from 2016 and 2020 confirm her initial appointment as deputy director of finance and subsequent promotion to director, both under the tenure of former NBMA Director General Dr. Rufus Ebegba. However, the FCSC claims that her transfer to the agency was an error and directed her immediate recall to her previous position as Chief Executive Officer (Accounts) GL. 14.

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As a result, Dr. Oamen’s salary for December 2023 has allegedly been withheld, according to an anonymous source within the agency.

This development has prompted calls for intervention from prominent figures, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to address the perceived injustice.

While Dr. Asagbra was not available for comment, Ugo Agwu Nnachi, Head of Human Resources Management at NBMA, and Gloria Ogbaki, Head of Communications, denied any wrongdoing on her part. They emphasized that the DG has no authority to reject postings made by the OAGF and that the agency cannot be faulted for the actions taken by the FCSC.

The former NBMA Director General, Dr. Rufus Ebegba, supported Dr. Oamen’s promotion and commended her professionalism.

However, Dr. Oamen herself declined to comment on the matter, redirecting inquiries to the appropriate authorities.

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Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media and ICT Consultant, Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.
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