Mustapha Lamidi, presidential candidate of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has promised to give welfare of journalists high priority, if elected.

Lamidi made the promise on Sunday in Dutse in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during his campaign tour to Jigawa.

He said he was in the state to campaign for the office of the president of the NUJ.

He added that “my esteemed colleagues, I am here to campaign for the office of the President of NUJ because I have a mission to achieve by the grace of God.

The candidate explained that if elected, he would strive to enhance the living conditions of journalists in the country.

He stressed that “by the grace of God, if I am given the mandate, we will struggle to enhance the living conditions of journalists in the country.’’

According to him, journalists provide essential services and should get special salary package to boost their morale.

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“We are doing essential duty, that is the truth of the matter. You know that journalists are always on the field, even weekend like this we are at our duty posts.

“They say we provide essential services, therefore, we should earn essential pay, we are very hard working and we work 24 hours for seven days; it is not easy,” he stated.

Lamidi told NAN that there was the need for concerned authorities to consider these complaints.

He pointed out that National Assembly members received huge allowances, while journalists were at the forefront in the struggle for the enthronement of democracy in 1999.

“So, there is the need to look into the welfare of journalists in Nigeria so as to boost their morale and for enhanced productivity.’’

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He said journalists would continue to agitate for better salary package so that the authorities concerned could look into the matter with a view to coming up with good salary package for them.

According to him, there are many projects to be completed at the national secretariat of the NUJ, pointing out that If elected, he will strive to complete the projects.

“The projects include the 240-bedroom chalets and the national headquarters of International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), among others,’’ he said.

Lamidi said NUJ was paying over N10 million rent on the IIJ temporary site and when completed, the project would save a lot of money for the union.

He said if given the mandate, he would raise a professional Public Relations outfit, register with Corporate Affairs Commission and make sure that it served members of the union.

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“We also intend to raise a professional public relations outfit, register with CAC and make sure what we are doing to others, we do it ourselves too.’’

The candidate further added that he would make sure the union got its check off dues when due and distribute it accordingly.

Again, he said “we are going to make sure that all the dues we have not been getting gets to us all, and we distribute it accordingly to zones, states and chapels respectively by the grace of God.’’

Lamidi, therefore, urged members of the union to give him the necessary support to enable him to succeed.

“Just give us the mandate and we are not going to disappoint Nigerian journalists. I can assure you that we are going to protect your interest and defend them by the grace of God,’’ he noted. (NAN)