Why die on arrival?
By Saviour Ekpe
Akwa Ibom State Government approved two hundred and fifty Journalists in the state enjoy health care under the Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Scheme (AKSHIS), which to Journalists in the state was a strange decision.
This gesture was earnestly pursued by both the government and the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) but what happens to this celebrated effort of government is what the union and members are baffled as to what goes wrong with this noble plan to a people considered and known as the members of the fourth estate of the realm. This was not out of place as far as the press work hand in hand with the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature towards the general good of the society hence the need for this call or reminder.
Let the Governor in his position as the State Chief Executive officer unhang and or bring to light what happens to this constitutional objective to a people who belong the other classes of people he govern. It could be recalled that when information to this effect was issued through the made to believe supervisory ministry of Information and Strategy, forms were issued to members of this revered profession and the forms were filled and submitted accordingly but up till today, nothing is heard about the programme.
As it stands, should Journalists in Akwa Ibom State assume and consider that such lofty and widely publicized project was a scam? If it was not a scam, why the silence by the supervisory ministry and the Insurance company? If it was a scam, why? Or has this initiative been politicized? Should it be seen as a second term project? Though unconfirmed sources told Century Newsfront that money meant for the purposed had long been released to the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information, this is making one year now, which the indemnity will expired and request for money for the year would soon be made to contain in the 2019 budget.
A cross section of Journalists in the state especially the elderly who supposed to be the major beneficiaries are lamenting, “look at my health condition, why can’t the state government liaise directly with the NUJ (Nigeria Union of Journalists) in the state so that this exercise could have a human face, mingling this all important and highly beneficiary exercise with Ministry of Information may turn to be exercise in futility because that ministry, I doubt it”. The veteran whose health is critical called on governor Udom Emmanuel to be aggressive in the implementation of the Akwa Ibom State Health Insurance Scheme (AKSHIS) to Journalists, “I want to use this platform to sincerely call on the state governor to wade into the issue of Health Insurance Scheme for Journalists in the state as this, will add to the many achievements so far recorded in his administration”, the veteran added.
It could be recalled that the State Ministry of Information has hid the name of the insurance company from journalists. Every effort by Century Newsfront to find out the insurance name prove abortive as a senior member of the union leadership said, “honestly, we don’t know what is happening, in fact, we don’t even know the name of the insurance company. More findings on the matter would be unearthed by Century Newsfront subsequent editions.