• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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NUJ turns sod to build N74m ultra-modern guest house


 The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State council, has commenced construction on its ultra-modern 20-room guest house estimated to cost N74 million.

The two-storey building to be known and addressed as Lagos NUJ Guest House, is rising from the ashes of a bungalow in Shomolu that served as the council’s secretariat until 2004, when the secretariat was moved to Iyalla Street, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

Deji Gbolahan Elumoye, the council’s chairman, explained in his welcome address at the turning of the sod event at the project site that, on completion, the guest house would increase the revenue base of the council, and also provide accommodation for NUJ members, especially those in transit, who will now, rather than spend a fortune on hotels, lodge in the guest house and save their money.

According to the chairman, the house promises a car park that will accommodate many cars; restaurant and bar, all on the ground floor; 10 rooms, all en suite on the first floor, and another 10 rooms, all en suite on the second floor.

Elumoye disclosed that the project would be financed from rents from Lagos NUJ property, a four-storey building in Victoria Island named after Lateef Jakande, a veteran journalist and former Lagos State governor, adding that funds would also come from a bank that the council was discussing getting a facility from.

Muhammad Garba, national president of the NUJ, commended Lagos council for the initiative, pointing out that it was part of efforts by the national body to ensure financial independence for the councils, and pledged support for the project, assuring that he would monitor the progress of work on the project.

He used that occasion to condemn what he called “continued assault and intimidation” of journalists, which, he said, was unacceptable in a democratic setting such as we have in Nigeria.

“I am calling on the president, Goodluck Jonathan, to respect freedom of expression and press freedom. The arrest of journalists as in the case of the four Leadership editors is bad for the image of the country,” he said, appealing to security agencies to charge the journalists to court.

According to him, most reports in the media are tilting towards 2015 general elections, urging journalists to always remember that they’re professionals who should respect the ethics of their profession.

Segun Osoba, chairman of the occasion, said “Lagos remains the father and centre piece of NUJ, and also commended the building initiative, calling on those in power to learn lessons on project costing from the journalists.

Osoba, who is former governor of Ogun State and veteran journalist, noted that journalists have paid their price for nation building, explaining that many have paid the supreme sacrifice for the sake of the nation and the profession.