The Nigerian Union of Journalists has declared a seven-day mourning period for the death of three of its members, who died in a road accident while returning from Abuja on Friday.
President, NUJ, Mr. Mohammed Garba, who addressed a news conference in Osogbo, on Saturday, directed that condolence registers be opened in all chapels, state and national secretariats of the union in honour of the departed.
He also said all activities in the chapels, state and national secretariats should be suspended, urging members of the union to pray for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
The three members, who died in the crash, which occurred at Osu area of Ilesa-Ibadan Expressway are the National Financial Secretary of the union, Mr. Adolphous Okonkwo; NUJ Chairman, Radio Nigeria, Ibadan Network Centre, Mr. Tunde Oluwanike, and an official of Nigeria Television Authority, Tejuoso, Lagos, Kafayat Odunsi.
Garba said, “The issue of insurance for NUJ members comes to the fore again with the death of these our colleagues. They were coming from Abuja, where they had gone for a meeting on members’ welfare before they lost their lives.”
He thanked the Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Titi Laoye-Tomori, for providing support and for being at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Osogbo, with some NUJ members till around 1:30am.
He also commended the swift response of the Osun Emergence Ambulance Service to the accident.
Similarly, the Oyo State Council of the NUJ declared a seven-day mourning.
A statement by the Secretary, Oyo NUJ, Rotimi Babalola, said the mourning period would last till Friday, after which special interdenominational prayers would be offered “to forestall future occurrence of such incident among journalists.”
Meanwhile, the Osun State Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has described the deaths as a huge loss to the country.
He spoke through the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere,
His Kwara State counterpart, Mr. Abdulfatah Ahmed, also described the death of the journalists as unfortunate, shocking and devastating in a message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Abdulwahab Oba.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, also expressed shock at the death of the journalists.
“The death of the journalists is a big tragedy which cut short the lives of patriots who were on the active service of their fatherland,” he said.
Similarly, the Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Osun State, Mr. Gani Olaoluwa, in a condolence message, said, “The death of these professionals is a big blow to the NUJ. It is a painful exit of men and a woman who sought the good of the society.”
The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning, Economic Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, on Saturday also expressed shock over the loss.