Media urged to educate Nigerians on National Assembly roles

National Assembly, Abuja

A member of the Senate, Mr Yusuf Yusuf, has urged the media to educate the public on National Assembly roles, saying a lot of misconception surrounded the issue.

The lawmaker told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the call had become necessary in order to set the records straight on people’s expectation of lawmakers.

He decried the harassment lawmakers faced in their constituencies with regard to non-implementation of projects, describing it as “worrisome’’.

He said that no lawmaker had any budget.

“We approve budget, appropriate funds for ministers to spend. Why would Nigerians not ask the ministers how they are spending the money and why are they hitting the legislature?

“For instance, you hear constituents saying things like `lawmakers fail to provide water’.

“It is not the responsibility of parliament; it is the responsibility of the executive arm of government.

“So I think the media need to help to enlighten the people.”

On strengthening the capacity of newsmen to discharge their duties effectively, the lawmaker said that the National Assembly was always ready to assist where necessary.

“In order to improve the capacity of journalists in the country, laws establishing the NUJ and other relevant organisations should be reviewed.

“They should bring them for us to look at and develop excellent capacity of journalists so that we do not have quacks operating as journalists.

“Some of these quacks even go to rural areas and take advantage of the people’s ignorance to pose as journalists, conducting interviews.

“Amending the necessary laws will enable the journalists who are the `conscience of the people’ to remain focused,” he said.

Yusuf called for separate laws guiding practitioners and owners of media organisations.

He said that separation of laws for media practitioners and the owners would help with proper implementation.

“In banking for instance, there is CBN Act; then, we have Banks and other Financial Institutions Act.

“I think we should apply this to journalism too, so that if you are a promoter there should be a particular type of law that applies to you because you cannot employ people without paying them.

“If you are not paying salaries, it is either you are bankrupt or you are diverting the money.

“When you travel outside the country you will see how journalists are treated with respect. That is what we want to see here.

“There should be a standard on what journalists should be paid depending on their qualification,” he said.

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