By Umar Muhammad Puma
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara has called for a life insurance policy for media practitioners.
Dogara also called on media owners and managers in the country to prioritise the welfare of journalists in their organisations by paying their salaries as and when due.
The Speaker who made the call while on a condolence visit to members of the House of Representatives Press Corps on Monday, also advocated for life insurance policy for journalist as an important incentive aimed at motivating them to do more in their line of duty.
The House Press Corps had in the early hours of Saturday, lost one of its members, Mr. Otei Oham who passed on after a brief illness in his home town in Cross River State.
Mr Oham was until his death, a legislative correspondent for the Guardian Newspaper covering the House of Representatives.
Paying tribute to the late journalist, Dogara said: “It’s of deep feelings that we are here today, and unfortunately for us, the feeling is one of grief. And no matter what happens, no matter how long we cry, we can never change it, we just have to accept it. And as people of God we accept as the perfect will of God”.
While praying for the repose of the soul of the deceased, Dogara said: “At this moment of grief, let me also reiterate the call for Media owners to ensure that journalists who suffer for the very ideals that we are fighting for or working for, that’s the ideals of freedom, to be paid as and when due. It is important”.
“And also in the context of this very dangerous environment, for them to navigate as journalists, I want to call on proprietors of media organisations too that they provide adequate insurance cover for journalists including life insurance, obviously.
“We’ve been witnesses to some very sad events that led to the death of some of your colleagues while on active duty. And we believe that if this kind of measures is put in place, it will spore some of us who are plying our trade in the media to even do more.
“Because the work of independent media in sustaining the very ideals of democracy cannot be underrated. Without media, to help civil society pass information as it is to the general populace and to hold government functionaries accountable, obviously, there wouldn’t be functional democracy”, Dogara said.
He added that “no sacrifice can be too much if we invested in the lives of those who are striving hard to ensure that we have a very robust democracy in this country”.
Chairman of the Press Corps, Umar Muhammad Puma in his vote of thanks expressed gratitude to the Speaker for making out time to pay a condolence visit to members of the corps.