Nigerians have continued paying tributes to the three journalists who died in a ghastly motor accident while returning from an official trip in Abuja over the weekend.
The journalists, who died in the crash which occured along the Osu-Ilesa road in Osun State were Adolphus Okonkwo, National Union of Jounalists (NUJ) National Financial Secretary; Tunde Oluwanaike, Chairman of the Radio Nigeria Ibadan Network Chapel and Kafayat Odunsi of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Tejuosho, Lagos.
10 other journalists who sustained serious injuries in the incidence are currently receiving medical attention at Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital Complex, Osogbo, Osun State, with two of them who are from Oyo State said to have been moved to the University College Hospital, UCH, Ibadan on the orders of the Oyo State governor.
In his condolence message, former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said there could be no justification for the daily massive loss of lives witnessed in Nigeria due to bad roads.
“This preventable loss of lives saddens me and it is a colossal one. These journalists were on official assignment and to die in such a gruesome way is regrettable. Their deaths brings to fore the lack of any functional transportation system and the terrible nature of Nigerian roads.”
Tinubu added that the death of the journalists had robbed the media of some of its brightest minds and prayed for fortitude for the media to bear the loss.
He further called on the media not to shy away from exposing the rot on the nation’s roads and the overall infrastructural rot all around the country.
Also speaking on the unfortunate incident, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi expressed shock over the death of three officials of the union.
The governor described the death as a “big tragedy which cut short the lives of patriots, who were on the active service of their fatherland”.
He expressed regret that the death of the journalists occurred at a time the nation was yet to recover from the demise of media icon, Alhaji Alade Odunewu, who passed on recently.
He therefore called on the concerned authorities to ensure good insurance package for journalists in view of the hazards associated with the media profession.
“They work day and night to ensure that we get news as it breaks and their lives are always at risk when covering events in danger zones”.
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, also mourned the dead journalists, describing their deaths as unfortunate, shocking and devastating.
Ahmed, in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, said the death of the journalists, while pursuing enhanced welfare of their colleagues had yet denied Nigeria the services of the vibrant Nigerians.
Ahmed noted that the death of the journalists has again brought to fore, the issue of insurance policies for working journalists in view of the hazardous nature of their vocation.
He urged employers of journalists, whether in the private or public sector, to wholeheartedly embrace journalists’ insurance culture, just as his administration has done for all working journalists in the state, irrespective of their employers.
Ahmed had recently released N1.68million as insurance premium for all working journalists in the state.
“It was in recognition of the place of journalists in national development that my administration paid the insurance premium of all journalists working in the state irrespective of their states of origin or the nature of their employment,” the governor said.
Also speaking, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole commiserated with the NUJ over the death of the journalists.
In his condolence message, Oshiomhole said the death of the journalists was most painful given the fact that they embarked on the journey to press home a case for enhanced welfare of their members.
“I pray God to grant speedy recovery to the other journalists who are receiving treatment as a result of the accident,” he said.