by Jude Owuamanam, Jos
Plateau State Governor, Mr. Jonah Jang, has tendered unreserved apologies to journalists in the state for neglecting issues of their security while carrying out their duties.
Jang’s apologies came six years after eight journalists died in the convoy of his predecessor and 72 hours after members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists boycotted government activities, saying situations were no longer conducive for them to work.
Jang, through the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr. Yiljap Abraham, at a meeting with members of the Chapel in Jos on Wednesday, said government regretted the issues that led to the action by journalists.
He admitted that on his part, he had failed to take the issue of their security seriously and appealed to them to sheathe their swords.
While appreciating the contributions of journalists, especially the state correspondents, to the development of the state, the commissioner said no other segment had given their best in the various struggle in the state than the journalists.
The governor said, “As free individuals, you have the right to take the decision you took and I respect your wishes for that.
“We feel the pain of having you withdraw from your beat because we have missed you. Our joining you in this meeting is not to debate or defend issues, but to smoothen issues and explain ourselves in the present circumstance.
“If there is anything you will do for the government of Plateau State, you have done it and if there is anything you would have done for Plateau people, you have done it. Yours have been a strategic group. The image of Plateau State, the cries and pains of Plateau people have been carried by you and whatever you could have done, you have done better and greater.
“I want to ask you to give us the chance to work towards your security in any situation you may find yourself. We need to work together to avoid danger and to assure you always that your security will always be our priority.”
The commissioner said if the governor had had an inkling of the problem faced by journalists in performing their duties, he would have done everything to ensure that the relationship did not degenerate to the extent that journalists would have to boycott government activities.
He said the governor saw the action as a wake-up call for a greater and more robust relationship with the fourth estate of the realm.
The governor, Abraham said, deeply regretted the incident where some journalists were attacked in Riyom, and apologised that nobody in government appeared to have bothered about it.
He said, “That you faced danger in Riyom, you did not do it for your ego, you did not do it for your name, you did it for Plateau State. We are happy and thankful to God that you came back alive.”
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