The ongoing dispute between the governments of Rivers State and Bayelsa State has raised concerns within the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). The recent demolition of Bayelsa State Government property in Rivers has escalated tensions and could have severe consequences if not resolved promptly. The NUJ discussed these issues during the South-South zonal meeting held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, where leaders expressed worry over the hasty decision made by Governor Nyesom Wike and its negative effects. Additionally, the meeting addressed the poor state of roads in the South-South region and urged incoming governors to collaborate with President Bola Tinubu to improve infrastructure.
The communique released after the summit strongly condemned the demolition of Bayelsa State government property by the Rivers State government. The union emphasized the significant implications this act could have on the relationship between the two states. The NUJ called upon the incoming administration in Rivers State to exhibit responsible leadership by addressing the issue in the interest of unity, peace, and brotherhood.
The meeting also expressed concerns about the deplorable condition of major roads in the South-South region, such as the Calabar-Itu Highway, East-West Road, Benin-Sapele Road, and Benin-Lokoja Highway. The communique urged the Federal Government to take action on these roads, as it has done in other zones. Furthermore, the union encouraged South-South state governors to collaborate closely with the incoming federal government to ensure the completion of these roads, considering the region’s significant contributions to the nation’s economy.
The leaders of the NUJ denounced the ongoing power struggle within the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Board, describing it as “shameless” and potentially detrimental to the agency’s mandate. They called on the board members to prioritize their responsibilities and work towards fulfilling the commission’s mandate. The meeting also expressed concern about the collapse of the BRACED Commission, urging the six governors in the South-South zone to develop strategies for its revival. The BRACED Commission serves as a platform for peer review and development coordination in the region.
The resurgence of kidnappings and other criminal activities in parts of Rivers State following the 2023 general elections was a matter of great concern. These incidents have resulted in loss of lives and property damage. The meeting called upon the Rivers State Government and security agencies to strengthen security measures to address the rising insecurity in the state.
The NUJ expressed its appreciation for the support received from governors in the South-South region. Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, and the Bayelsa State Governor were commended for their contributions to the union and the journalism profession. The meeting also praised the Edo State Government for implementing a minimum wage of N40,000 for civil servants and urged other state governments in the region to follow this example. Lastly, the NUJ emphasized the importance of upholding journalism standards and maintaining public confidence, particularly in the face of new media and fake news.
The Nigeria Union of Journalists has expressed its disapproval of the demolition of Bayelsa State Government property by the Rivers State government. The union has called for responsible leadership, unity, and peaceful resolution of the ongoing dispute. Furthermore, the NUJ highlighted the urgent need for improved road infrastructure in the South-South region and the necessity of addressing the power tussle within the NDDC Board. The meeting also emphasized the revival of the BRACED Commission and the importance of addressing security concerns and upholding journalism standards. Through collaborative efforts, the South-South region can overcome these challenges and promote progress and development.