Shock, grief greet death of journalists in ghastly accident

Posted by News Express | 4 August 2013 | 4,126 times

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An outpouring of grief continues to trail the death, in a ghastly Friday evening accident, of three officials of the Nigerian Umion of Journalists (NUJ). Adolphus Okonkwo of Voice of Nigeria, Kafayat Odunsi of Nigerian Television Authority and Tunde Oluwanike of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria died died when the bus in which they were returning from a union event in Abuja crashed around 7pm along Ilesa-Ile-Ife Highway. One of the rear tyres had burst, resulting in the bus somersaulting many times and landing in a bush.

Ten 10 other journalists, who sustained injuries in the accident, were immediately rushed to  Ladoke Akintola University Teaching Hospital, Osogbo, for treatment, where the remains of the dead were deposited.

Two of the wounded, whose conditions were critical, were transferred to Ibadan for treatment.

NUJ National president Mohammed Garba has declared a week-long mourning for the fallen journalists.

Speaking yesterday in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, the NUJ President, directed that all activities of the union at the chapels, state and national levels be suspended throughout the mourning period.

He directed that condolence registers be opened in all the states and at the national headquarters.

Garba condoled with the families of the deceased and members of NUJ.

He reiterated the need for national insurance scheme for every journalist, saying the nature of the job required a comprehensive insurance for the practitioners.

Garba commended the Osun State Government for its prompt response to the scene of the accident and its support to the victims.

Earlier, the NUJ president in company of the Osun State NUJ Chairman, Mr Abiodun Olalere, the National Vice-Chairman, South West, Mr Dele Atunbi, and the Osun Commissioner for Information, Mr Sunday Akere, visited the injured at the hospital.

Also Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara has described the death of the three journalists as unfortunate, shocking and devastating. In a condolence message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, in Ilorin, the governor said “the death of the journalists while pursuing enhanced welfare for their colleagues has yet denied Nigeria their services.’’

Ahmed described the late journalists as “vibrant Nigerians who could have made meaningful contributions to the national process of promoting freedom of speech and democratic values in the country through the pen.’’

The governor noted that the death of the journalists had again brought to the front burner the issue of insurance policies for working journalists in view of the hazardous nature of their vocation.

He, therefore, urged employers of journalists, whether in the private or public sector, to take a cue from the Kwara State Government and insure all journalists in their employment.

“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,” the governor said

He added that the government did the insurance irrespective of the journalists’ states of origin or the nature of their employment.

He prayed God to give the family and the journalists’ fraternity the fortitude to bear the painful loss.

•Story partly based on a NAN report. • Photo courtesy shows the late Adolphus Okonkwo.

Source: News Express

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