Why NUJ Chairman Suspended us – Members
Edo State Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has reaffirmed the suspension of nine (9) of its executive members over misappropriation of N5m allegedly meant for the state council of the NUJ.
This was contained in a statement signed on Monday in Benin by Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu (Acting Chairman) and Mr. Iguobaro Osaigbovo (Acting Secretary)
It could be recalled that 9 members were suspended last week by the NUJ congress for sharing among themselves, the N5m which was given to them by the former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole.
The decision to suspend the executives were as a result of the concern of members who frowned at the behaviour of the suspended executives in the diversion of the millions meant for the NUJ.
According to the statement:”The suspension order by the NUJ State Congress on the Secretary of the Union, Mr. Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu (Guardian) who is a member of the chapel, the chapel Chairman, Simon Ebegbulem (Vanguard), Vice Chairman, Cajetan Mmuta (New Telegraph), Secretary, Patrick Ochoga (Leadership) and Financial Secretary, Ehis Igbaugba (News Agency of Nigeria) is hereby upheld.
“Also upheld, is the state council’s suspension order on some chapel members including Tony Osauzo (Sun), Adekunbi Ero (Tell), Friday Otabor Osagie (Nation) and Adibe Emenyonu (This Day) Newspapers. That to prevent a vacuum in the leadership of the chapel, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu of the News Agency of Nigeria (Treasurer), Mr. Osaigbovo Iguobaro (Peoples Daily), Idris Momoh (Business Day), Barnabas Uzosike (Vanguard) and Patrick Ahanor (Blueprint) were mandated to serve as Management Committee of the chapel.
“Whereas the suspended Chapel Secretary, Patrick Ochoga (Leadership) refused to open the Chapel Secretariat inspite of several calls by members as venue for this congress, he refused; Congress will decide his fate at its next sitting on Friday, 29th September 2017.
“The Edo State Government, Nigeria Police, Directorate of State Services and other security agencies, Corporate organizations, commercial banks and the general public are to take note that the above mentioned members cease to be acting on the Chapel’s behalf until the State Congress acts otherwise. That all commercial bank accounts belonging to the NUJ Correspondents chapel are frozen forthwith.
The suspended members are to return all Chapel Properties and Monies such as the Keys to the Chapel Bus, Keys to the Chapel Secretariat Bank Documents and Official Receipts and Minute Books etc, in their possession to the Chapel Management Committee on or before 12noon September 27th, 2017.”
We didn’t commit any fraud in Edo NUJ – Suspended members
Responding to what they described as purported, one of the alleged suspended members, Tony Osauzo (The Sun) who issued a statement on behalf of others said the members were not worried by the decision reached at the emergency congress by the Chairman, Mr. Roland Osakue.
Osauzo said members couldn’t divert money meant for the NUJ without the knowledge of the Chairman, adding that the decision is tantamount to “drinking Panadol for another man’s headache”
The statement reads “We wish to state clearly that we are not bothered by the decision reached at the emergency congress. The outcome of the kangaroo Congress called by the NUJ Chairman, Mr. Roland Osakue over an issue that was not within the purview of the NUJ cannot stand.
“To us, the action of the emergency congress amounts to nullity and of no consequence because it was a mere shadow chasing or at best drinking Panadol for another man’s headache. There is no way a gift meant for the NUJ can be diverted without the knowledge of the chairman or members of his executive.”
The members accused the state chairman of resorting to suspension after they refused to add his name as beneficiaries of the N5m, adding that members were aware that such money was gifted to selected few.
“We are surprised that Mr. Osakue is after the N5m gift when the entire sum was N10m given to various category of journalists as gift. Staffers of the News Agency of Nigeria, NTA, AIT, KU Fm, Vibes FM, EBS, Channels, Silverbird, Nigerian Observer, Ministry of Information, Radio Nigeria and others benefitted from the largesse. The reason for the emphasis on ours is still a mystery.
“We wish to state that Mr. Osakue and members of the Correspondent Chapel were aware of this gift. Osakue met us at different times begging to include his name as part of the beneficiaries but we told him in clear terms those the money belonged to. At a meeting of the Correspondent Chapel held on the 24th of January 2017, members raised the issue and it was explained to them how the money came and those expected to benefit from it. Minutes of the meeting are available for cross checking.
”Moreover, we are not involved in any N5m fraud as published because no such money left the account of the NUJ nor were we given any assignment to executive on behalf of the NUJ. We expect the Edo NUJ leadership to inform the world at what forum and where exactly did the money was given to them.
The suspended members accused the union of not properly investigating the allegation before suspending them.
”In any case, the emergency Congress set aside the NUJ constitution and failed to follow laid down procedure in purportedly suspending us from the union. The matter was not properly investigated. We shall not relent in reversing this illegality.” Osaozu said.