The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FCT Council on Monday picketed the Headquarters of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) located in the Central Business District of Abuja over alleged illegal promotion of some staff who are not eligible and victimisation of the NAN NUJ Chairman, Comrade Collins Yakubu-Hammer..

Addressing the media during the picketing, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche, the NUJ FCT Council Chairman said the union had tried to ensure dialogue with the NAN management on the matter, but to no avail..

He said Yakubu-Hammer and others has been victimised and threatened because the NAN NUJ stood against illegal promotions in the Agency..

“We are here because, an injury to one is an injury to all. If we do not stand in solidarity, management would roll over each and every one of us, not just in NAN but in our various places of work.

We are here to demand, after dues notices to the management of NAN over its deliberate and mischievous promotion of certain Individuals in NAN that are not due for promotion.

*When the NAN NUJ rose against the illegal promotion, the management decided to first, transfer its Chairman, Comrade Collins Yakubu-Hammer and threatened others with stife and severe sanctions.

“We had written to NAN management. We held meetings with NAN management led by the MD, Mr Buki Ponle. We have appealed, but they disregarded our appeal and continue to threatened our members.

“We will not go back, we will not back track. We will continue to protest till justice is serve for our members in NAN..

” We did it during the time of Mr Bayo Onanuga and we will do it again with Buki Ponle. The right thing must be done in NAN,” Ogbeche said.

He called on all members of NUJ to come out and defend those victimise,, because, according to him, an injury to one is an injury to all.

It was observed that the NAN management invited the Nigeria police to come and disperse the NUJ members, but they decided to be civil, because the picketing was peacefully carried out.

The Journalists held postcards with different inscriptions to send strong message to the NAN management.

While the picketing was going on, the Director of Finance and Account in the Agency, Mr Oladele Ojo and one Mr M. Ojo, the SA to the MD, Mr Buki Ponle were seen jittery and pleading with Ogbeche to call it off.

After much pleading, the NUJ agreed to enter into dialogue with management and.other inhouse unions, where it was resolved as follows..

1. NUJ should give the management of NAN two weeks to resolve the matter as same issue is on the table of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

2. The picketing should be suspended to allow normal operations to go on while effort would be put in place to resolve the matter.

3. The NAN NUJ Chairman is henceforth allowed to enter the NAN Premises to see his colleagues and friends.

With the resolution, the NUJ suspended the picketing.
News Authority recalls  that trouble started when some staff in the Finance and Administration Departments of the Agency were illegally promoted,because they did not meet the requirements for promotion during the 2021 promotion exercise in the Agency..

The inhouse unions; NUJ, RATTAWu, AUCPTER and SSASGOC jointly wrote the Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle, to address the unlawful conduct.

Ponle did not reply the unions or addressed the unlawful conduct.

When the four unions want to take up the matter at Head of Service, Ministry of Information and Culture, SGF and Federal Civil Service Commission, the Head of Admin in NAN, Mr Abduhadi Kaliell immediately transfer Yakubu-Hammer to Pankshin District Office.

The NAN NUJ then wrote the Minister of information and Culture, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, SGF and Minister of Labour and Productivity and others to intervene in the matter..

The Controller, FCT Labour, Ministry of Labour and Productivity called for a meeting between the NAN NUJ and the NAN Management where it was resolved that the transfer be reverse. the Controller, union executives in the Federal Civil Service are not suppose to be transfer out of their base where they were elected into office, unless their tenure has elapsed.

The NAN management refused to reverse the transfer instead, Yakubu-Hammer was queried for failure to resume at his new place of.posting.

After the query, he was suspended three months without pay and banned from entry into NAN premises. He was also removed from NAN Reporers Platform.

When Yakubu-Hammer went to office on February 7 to collect the said suspension letter, he was denied entry into the office. He was not allowed to go into the office to collect the suspension letter which is still lying in the office of the Editor-in-Chief of the Agency, Mr Silas Nwoha.

NAN NUJ then appealed against the transfer and suspension of it Chairman. The union never got any reply from the Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle..

Similarly, some of the NAN NUJ Exco members were called on phone and threatened to desist from the union’s fight against the illegal promotions, or else, they would also face same consequences .

NAN management then warned all staff nationwide to avoid contact with him, because, according to the management he was pursuing a selfish agenda. He was stigmatised.

The FCT NUJ Chairman, Comrade Emmanuel Ogeche wrote NAN for a meeting to address the issue, but the NAN management refused to have a meeting with the FCT NUJ.

Similarly, the Ministry of Labour and Productivity again called.for a meeting to dialogue with NAN Management and NAN NUJ.

While the NAN NUJ EXCOs were at the venue of the meeting, the NAN Management did not show up.

The NAN management later wrote the FCT NUJ Council, stating that the transfer of NAN NUJ Chairman was a routine exercise and has no connection with union struggle against alleged illegal promotion.

The issue is pending at the Head of Service and Ministry of Information and Culture.

The pocketing as Ogbeche pointed out was because the management was not interested in dialogue to resolve the issues; and the best way is to picket to send message to the management.

By Editor

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