The Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) have warned politicians against politics of destruction ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The unions gave the warning on Sunday in Lagos, at an investiture by the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) in honour of Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi.
The NUJ National President, Chief Chris Isiguzo and the President, NGE, Mr Mustapha Isa, particularly commended Bello, for turning the security situation in Kogi around for good.
They stressed that those bent on undermining winning strategies to score political points should not play with the lives of Nigerians.
The NUJ president said: “When you talk about security, you talk about Kogi governor. I know what the security situation used to be before Bello came on board in Kogi, and I know what it is now.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to our political actors, we don’t need to destroy the country because of politics.
“It appears that some political actors want to puncture the strides of the governor in this area, knowing what is coming up in 2023.
“We have only one country we can call our own, that is Nigeria. We have had leaders in the past, they have come and gone, if they had destroyed the country, there would be no Nigeria today.”
Isiguzo said that Bello was doing wonderfully well in the area of security, stressing that politicians should not undermine his strategy all in the name of politics.
He said the honour for Bello as the patron of CRAN was very apt, noting that he had brought the political touch to clean up the security system.
The NUJ president, however, said the plan by the union to cancel beat associations would be reviewed, in view of the good performance and successes recorded by CRAN.
On his part, the NGE president said: “We should not mix politics with the issue of security. When we talk about the security challenges in the country, some governors join us in lamenting, they run to Abuja looking for support.
“When you ask them, they tell you they are not responsible. So why do they collect security votes monthly? One of those who do not lament, but tackle the menace headlong is Yahaya Bello.
“That is why he is being honoured today by CRAN. So, I tell our politicians, never mix politics with security.
“We should support those getting it right like the Kogi governor to continue in that line, and also learn from them, not do everything to puncture our gains at the expense of the people.”
He commended CRAN for recognising Bello for the investiture as the first governor to be made CRAN patron, describing it as the best choice.
CRAN President, Mr Sunday Odita explained that Bello was chosen as one of the association’s patrons because he attached so much importance to security in his state.
Odital said the honour for Bello was to show appreciation to him for being the first governor in Nigeria to train crime reporters and also empowered them to perform their roles better.
He noted that from reports around the country, Kogi remained the safest in the North , and one of the safest today in Nigeria, owing to the sound security strategies of the governor.
Responding, Bello said the state had responded promptly and successfully to some pockets of violence, noting that an announcement would be made on the issue very soon.
The governor, who was represented at the event by his Security Adviser, retired Cdr. Jerry Omodara, said his administration would continue to improve on the security situation in Kogi, assuring that the government had zero tolerance for banditry and would not give space for it.
Bello thanked CRAN for the special recognition, assuring that his administration would do more.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NUJ president, presented the investiture plaque to the governor.
NAN reports that about 80 journalists, including CRAN members, Lagos Council NUJ Chairman, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, the Council Vice Chairman, Mrs Abiola Beckley attended the event.