By Chijioke Okoronkwo
#TrackNigeria: The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul Nigeria’s security architecture in order to effectively tackle the country’s security challenges.
The NUJ President, Mr Chris Isiguzo, spoke with State House correspondents after leading a delegation of the union to a closed door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
Isiguzo said the delegation was in the Villa to congratulate the president on his re-election.
He said that the delegation told the president that his re-election was an opportunity to address the challenges the country had in the past four years by carrying everybody along and running an inclusive government.
“That is the spirit of federal character principle that is enshrined in our constitution; that he is got to carry people along, and of course, we talked about the security problem that we have, not just in the Northeast, but even the banditry in the Northwest – in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto.
“We raised that issue and of course, we urged him to ensure that the security architecture is overhauled to be able to effectively tackle these challenges that we have.
“We commended him for the fact that as we speak now, there is no part of the country that is under the control of insurgents which is good unlike when he came on board.
“But we also told him that it is very important that terrorism is completely stamped out – effectively tackled and not technically degraded.
“We want it to be out of our national life; that was what we told him. And coming to us, we drew his attention to the fact that journalism profession has become more like a challenge to all of us.
“The problem that we are having every now and then, and of course, freedom of expression, it does appear that it is taking flight; and we said if we are indeed a democratic nation, journalists must be given free hands to ply their trade.’’
He said the delegation told the president that a situation where there was clampdown and harassment did not speak well for Nigeria as a democracy.
Isiguzo said that Buhari, in his response, told the delegation he would improve on what he had done in the last four years.
He said that the president also appreciated the role that journalists played in a democracy and described Nigerian journalists as a unique set of professionals.
On the March 23 re-run elections in some states, Isiguzo urged the electorate to come out en masse and exercise their franchise and reject any form of monetary or material inducement.
“There will be supplementary elections on Saturday; we expect those in affected areas to troop out in their numbers; let them not keep away and say they have rigged it.
“They will not rig it if you come out; but if you stay at home, you are giving them the opportunity to now decide what happens to you.
“So, it is incumbent on us to take our destiny in our own hands. On Saturday, I wish Nigerians successful supplementary elections in the affected states,’’ he said. (NAN)