The Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Chucks Ehirim said the Union has since absolved the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed of any blame as it concerns the donation of 22 buses to the Bauchi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) recently.
The Chairman made this public when the Abuja Council of the Union presented a membership card to the Minister in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja on Wednesday.
Comrade Ehirim recalled that the Council recently issued a statement asking the Minister to explain an issue that borders on donation of buses to the Bauchi State chapter of the PDP, then the Minister took it in good faith and called on the leadership of the union to explain what really happened.
According to him, “we investigated what he told us and found out that actually those buses were not presented by the Minister himself but by people who are close to him”.
His words: “In this country, some people can even go to the extent of printing posters or purchasing aspiration forms for those they feel should contest elective positions and our investigation proved just like the Minister explained to us that those donation did come directly from him”.
He added, “having found out the truth we want to use this occasion to make it public that we took our first action based on our professional calling that even if he is one of us, if we felt that certain actions taken were not in conformity with what we believe, we would still ask questions. Thus, we are calling on other professional bodies in the country to borrow a leaf from the NUJ”.
The Chairman stressed that “You don’t say because somebody is your member and what he has done is improper and you cover him up”.
Comrade Ehirim wondered “why people are still making reference to what the Union said almost a month ago; adding that “I don’t know what they intend to achieve by that”.
He emphasized, “This is our final statement on that matter. The Minister is one of us and he can’t be blamed for the actions of others”.
Meanwhile, the Chairman while presenting the membership card to the Minister, noted that “in our tradition, every journalists ought to have membership card which is renewable every year and Minister being number one journalist here, and a very strong member of the FCT Council, we have come to present him the 2014 membership card”.
Responding, the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed thanked the Union for always being on the upright side and admonished the media to continue to uphold objectivism to make our society better.
Senator Mohammed maintained that the membership card is very dear to him, as it has re-connected him with his umbilical cord; saying that journalism is his launching pad.
He commended the Union for being the mirror to the society as it is supposed to be, but advised Nigerian media to desist from using gory pictures from emergency situations; describing it as unethical.
Muhammad Hazat Sule FCAI
Asst. Director/Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister,
Wednesday, July 9, 2014.