I’ll begin by hailing you all for the persistence and candour you might have demonstrated within the battle towards COVID-19, this technology’s greatest well being trial.
Our nation has recorded over 6,000 instances of the virus and at least 192 folks have died on account of problems arising from the virus whose roots are firmly rooted in Wuhan, China.
The pandemic has proven the weaknesses of our well being programs and we’ve got needed to be scampering to construct amenities to look after sufferers.
We have now additionally needed to be changing buildings akin to resorts and occasion centres into testing and therapy centres.
I’m blissful to report that our well being care system is now higher outfitted to detect, check, isolate and deal with each case and hint each one who got here in touch with a optimistic case.
Just like the economies of many countries that are struggling on account of the Coronavirus pandemic, ours has not been an exception.
As a matter of reality, ours have been worst hit as a result of the pandemic got here at a time when the worth of oil plummeted to an all-time low.
The Coronavirus blows on our financial system have seen jobs both misplaced or at stake. Medium and small scale enterprise homeowners are in hassle. Hundreds of employees are usually not certain of their salaries for this month after their employers struggled with April payments.
The media, a serious entrance liner within the battle towards the pandemic, has fared badly within the face of the debilitating blows from COVID-19.
The administration believes that with out the media our nation’s wrestle for Independence from the British colonial masters would have taken a special flip.
The nationalistic zeal of our heroes previous akin to Hebert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo was given expression by journalism and we’ve got journalism to thank for being free from imperialists.
With out the media, the federal government would have discovered it troublesome to disseminate info concerning our administration of the pandemic.
There would have been no manner the folks would have identified in regards to the tips put in place by the Presidential Process Pressure for the administration of the illness.
The media in Nigeria have for years been scuffling with not just a few on some type of ventilator as if bothered by COVID-19. For almost all, salaries are both not paid or terribly delayed. There are occasions journalists go for months with out pay.
Only some publishers always pay what can really be described as a take-home bundle. The bulk don’t pay nicely and sadly, they wrestle to pay these peanuts.
No due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which has made us strangers on this world we wrongly assumed we knew just like the again of our palm, issues have gone worse for the media. Even the perfect of them have needed to make changes with horrible impacts on workers.
Coronavirus has plummeted gross sales and promoting has dropped. Newspapers have had no selection however to chop pagination to 32. Print-runs have additionally been decreased as a result of circulation and advertising have been affected by the restrictions brought on by the pandemic.
I worry a post-pandemic period for this trade which fought for and bought us our Independence from the British colonial masters.
To cushion the impact of the COVID-19 blows on the media, I’ve directed the Central Financial institution of Nigeria to instantly work out a stimulus bundle for the media.
We can not afford to let the media die on account of COVID-19. We’ll all reside to remorse it if this occurs and our nation would be the worst for it.
A rustic and not using a robust media that can maintain the federal government to the very best commonplace of accountability is useless and ready to be buried.
Our authorities has additionally secured insurance coverage scheme for reporters who cowl the each day briefings of the Presidential Process Pressure on COVID-19. At this level, I need to commend the insurance coverage sector for offering this help inside a brief time period.
Our safety businesses should proceed to make sure that journalists are given the liberty to maneuver round throughout this era as they’re exempted from all types of restrictions.
I wish to guarantee the media that your security and safety stay our major concern, particularly in these troublesome and unsure instances.
We worth you and can do our utmost finest to see that you just proceed to play your position because the Fourth Property of the Realm as enshrined in our statute.
Our administration has equally directed the CBN to get banks to restructure loans to longer tenors for all media organisations whose companies are adversely impacted by COVID-19.
A part of the concepts being mulled contains however not restricted to: Suspension of compensation of such loans for one yr to offer the media ample financing room to pay salaries; and debt forgiveness for loans lower than N10 million.
Our help to the media turns into extra pressing as a result of we’re cognisant of the truth that Nigeria will not be prepared for the complete opening of the financial system.
Within the subsequent few days, the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) and the CBN might be assembly to work out the plans, which, in the long term, will give us a media we are going to all be happy with.
After rendering help to the media, our administration will criminalise non-payment of salaries by publishers. Publishers discovered responsible could have their properties confiscated and offered to offset the employees’ salaries.
We’ll proceed to depend on science, classes from different components of the world and verifiable date to wage the struggle towards the pandemic in order that we will return our world to what we all know.
The present one is a stranger and we should do all in our capability to do away with it. It’s not one thing we must always get used to; it’s one thing we must always battle with all our would possibly and defeat rapidly.
The sunshine shone by Henry Townsend’s Iwe Iroyin should not be allowed to die. The glow should proceed.
I thanks all for listening. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and shield the media.
Parting Shot: If solely this dream can flip to actuality, the hullabaloo within the media will die a pure loss of life.