COVID-19: Many would have died without journalists — Prof. Dakas

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Prof. Clement Dakas (SAN), Founder, Dakas CJ Dakas Foundation, has said that many people would not have survived the Coronavirus pandemic without the role journalists played.

Dakas, who stated this on Monday in Jos when he presented some palliatives to the Nigeria Union Journalists (NUJ), Plateau Council, said that journalists educated people on how to stay safe.

Represented by his wife and Co-founder, Mrs. Beatrice Dakas, he said that journalists were among the frontliners in the COVID-19 fight.

“This issue of COVID-19 pandemic has been a very serious issue all over the world. But for the strong role journalists played, many people wouldn’t have survived it.

“You informed and educated the public adequately on what to do and how to protect oneself from contracting the virus.

“It would have been practically impossible to survive it without the journalists,” he declared.

Dakas, former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Jos added that the medical and security personnel were playing their roles but the people needed to know what was happening around the world.

According him, the journalists should be among the first people that would be protected because they go everywhere to source for information.

“It is in that light that I have decided to provide facemasks for journalists to protect themselves anywhere they go.

“I have tremendous respect and appreciation towards journalists, especially the ones in Plateau, because the work you are doing is awesome.

“We know that there cannot be any sustainable development or democracy in Nigeria and around the world without journalists,” he added.

Mr. Paul Jatau, Plateau NUJ Chairman, in his remarks, thanked Dakas for the gesture which he said would tremendously assist members in carrying out their jobs.

Jatau stated that apart from Kano and Adamawa, no state government had come in to offer any kind of help to journalists who are frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.

“So, we call on Plateau to emulate Kano and Adamawa states.

“We are not like the medical personnels who have special allowances for what they do, yet we do almost the same job.

“We are exposed when we go to various centres to get information,” he pointed out.

Mrs. Jennifer Yerima, Chairman, Nigeria Association of Women Journlists (NAWOJ), Plateau Chapter, commended Dakas for coming to the aid of journalists.

Yerima, who is the chairperson of Plateau NUJ Palliatives Committee, said that the union solicited for assistance from members of the public to cushion the impact of the pandemic “but only few people, including Prof. Dakas, responded”.

Our Correspondent reports that Dakas also donated cash as part of the palliatives to the newsmen.