The Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) has condoled with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and employers of three journalists from Lagos and Oyo State Councils who recently died in a road accident.
Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, also commiserated with the family members of the deceased journalists, praying that God will give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Danladi Ndayebo,Governor Aliyu said the forum is saddened by the passage of such well groomed professionals, saying the untimely death of the hard working journalists has created a void in their media organizations and journalism profession.
The forum said a country like Nigeria, which requires all its qualified hands on deck to achieve rapid growth and development in all facets of human endeavour,cannot afford to continue to lose its brains to avoidable road accidents.
Governor Aliyu called on authorities charged with the responsibility of fixing roads to live up to their calling, just as he urged road users to always adhere strictly to safety rules and regulations in order to avoid a reoccurrence.
In a related development,Edo state Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has commiserated with the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ over the death of three of its members in an auto crash last Friday.
In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, Comrade Oshiomhole said the death of the journalists is most painful given the fact that they embarked on the journey to press home a case for enhanced welfare of their members.
“I had met the late Adolphus Okonkwo at the Constitution Review conference of the NUJ held in Benin in 2011 and from my interactions with him, he came across as a dedicated, dutiful and thoroughbred professional who knew his onions. I have no doubt that the other victims, Olatunde Oluwanike and Kafayat Odunsi, were no doubt eminent journalists in whom their colleagues reposed great confidence thus electing them as their representatives.
“I commiserate with the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, and the other entire media profession on this unfortunate incident.
“The death of the three journalists is a sad loss not only to the media profession but to the whole nation which has lost some of its best gatekeepers.
“Even as we mourn, I urge the NUJ and her members not remain downcast by this loss, but to allow the spirit of their late colleagues fire their desire to remain committed to their calling as the conscience of the nation.
“I pray God to grant speedy recovery to the seven other journalists who are receiving treatment as a result of the accident and pray that the soul of the departed will find eternal rest in the God’s bosom.”
Also, former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, has told the leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists not to allow their spirits to be dampened by the death of three of their colleagues in a road crash on Friday.
Kalu said the late journalists and others who were wounded died fighting a good cause for which they would never be forgotten.
Kalu, in a statement issued on his behalf by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewumi, in Harare, Zimbabwe, where he is as a part of the African Union Election Observer Mission, said the late newsmen demonstrated uncommon commitment to their profession and welfare of their colleagues by attending a meeting in Abuja that was solely to consider the welfare of members of the NUJ.
It was on their way back that the accident occurred around Osu in Osun State on the Ilesa-Ife Road.
Those that died were Kafayat Odunsi of the Nigerian Television Authority, Adolphus Okonkwo of the Voice of Nigeria and Tunde Oluwanike of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
Kalu, the Publisher of Sun newspaper, said in the statement: “Your colleagues died fighting a noble cause.
“The issue of the welfare of journalists ranks high on my agenda not just as a publisher myself but as a Nigerian who feels that a labourer is worthy of his wages. And not just any wage at that. But quality wages that would be paid at the right time.
“This was what these men and women of honour went to discuss in Abuja before some of them died in the road crash and some were injured.
“I salute their courage.”
Kalu condoled with the leadership of the NUJ and urged the colleagues of the deceased and injured to take up the fight for a better welfare package, including insurance scheme, from where the late newsmen left it.
He equally commiserated with the families of the deceased and wished those injured quick recovery.