NGE tasks FG on handling of EndSARS, calls for immediate review of NBC Act

The Standing Committee of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has expressed disapproval over Federal Government’s handling of the recent nationwide EndSARS protests, which were marred by looting and violent actions. The Guild’s disapproval extended to the attacks on some media houses that led to a temporary shutdown, including the attacks on a media personality in Lokoja, Kogi State.

The committee met between 29 and 31 October, 2020 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to assess the state of the nation and the media.

“We condemn the looting and burning of some public and private property, including police stations, which came on the heels of the EndSARS protests.

“We are also concerned that the unjustified attacks by hoodlums will in no small way affect the financial status of many media establishments negatively, considering the fact that the media just came out of a distressed status caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Guild said.

Responding to the Lokoja incident, the Guild reminded members of the public of the media’s contribution to the democracy enjoyed by all and their commitment to protecting the masses’ interest within it. The Guild also stated that the government is saddled with the responsibility of keeping a safe environment for its members because of their role in educating, entertaining and informing the public.

“The media should not be a subject of attack to Nigerians,” the NGE stated.

While restating its support for the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as a regulatory body with the right to sanction erring members, the Guild demanded an immediate formal assessment of the NBC Act.

“We call for an immediate review of the NBC Act because of current realities in the media world. We know the government is already working on this but, this action must be expedited in the interest of professionalism, fairness and justice,” the NGE stated.

The Guild, however, beseeched the government to reassess assumed infringements before pronouncing judgment.

“Fines should be the last resort,” it advised.

The NGE applauded government’s acknowledgement of the demand made by the #ENDSARS protesters by setting up judicial panels and insisted that transparency should be the fuel for this process, as previous processes had not been without blemish.

“The Guild demands absolute transparency and accountability in the outcomes of the ongoing panels and would detest a cover up of those found culpable in human rights violations against Nigerians, as recorded with previous panels,” NGE maintained, adding that “lip service should not be paid to the implementation of policies that will ensure the betterment of Nigerians”.

In addition, NGE expressed worry over the unfavourable position the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has found itself as a result of its personnel who lost their lives during the mindless killings, and tasked the government to reform the police force.

In NGE’s words: “The unfortunate event of these past few weeks should propel the government to expedite action on police reforms.”

Concerning the well-being of the country, the Guild urged the presidency to sign the new Electoral Law as Nigerians prepare for the 2023 general election, and pleaded with the youth to suspend any further public protest because their point had been made.


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