The Management of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has shun the meeting organised by the Ministry of Labour and Employment over the trade dispute between the management and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), NAN Chapel, Abuja.
It would be recalled that a letter signed by Mrs O.U. Akpan the Director of Trade Union Services and Industrial Relations, scheduled a meeting for February 15, 2022 over a trade dispute between the Union and NAN Management to clarify the looming issues on transfer of Union leaders in the agency amongst other issues.
Mr Collins Yakubu-Hammer, the NAN NUJ Chairman was transferred, victimised, suspended for three months without pay for alleged failure to proceed on transfer.
The purported transfer in the first place was done in bad faith to silence the NAN NUJ leadership in total contravention with the provisions of Section 9 subsection 6 (a) and (b) of the Nigerian Labour Act, CAP L1, 2004, and Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria as amended.
The category of staff in the Editorial Department that are transfered to District Offices are traditionally those between GL8 and GL12. Thus, his transfer (on Grade Level 13 and a labour leader) was predicated on wickedness, victimisation, intimidation and threat to other labour leaders to scare them away from exposing unlawful conduct and injustice against their members.
“The refusal of the management to reverse the transfer as resolved at the meeting with the Controller, FCT Labour Office, is a gross violation of the agreement reached at that meeting.”
The transfer was based on the letter dated 23th September, 2021, with the title “2021 PROMOTION EXAMINATION: URGENT NEED TO ADDRESS AN UNLAWFUL CONDUCT”, which the Union had begged the management to address illegalities that characterised the 2021 Promotion Examination where the Head of Admin, Mr Abdulhadi Khaliel, and Director of Finance and Accounts, Mr Oladele O. Ojo, conspired to promote their cronies, including Mr Abiodun Akintokun, Mr Mambis Danja and Stephanie Ekemere Oyovhaire (Mrs), who where promoted twice within 2 years against the Civil Services rules of 3 years.
“The three aforementioned staff were not eligible for the 2021 Promotion Examination and their names were not on the first and second list of qualified staff for the 2021 promotion examination, they were smuggled into the hall to write the said examination. This contravened Section 7, subsection 020702 of the Public Service Rules.
“The Management did not respond to our request to address such gross violation of the Public Service Rules (PSR) even after several attempts to get clarification.
“When the unions declared their intention to take up the matter at the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Federal Civil Service Commission and Ministry of Information and Culture, some of the unions were compromised and others threatened, leaving the NAN NUJ to proceed on seeking to address the unlawful conduct.
“In the process of trying to further seek for justice, the Head of Admin, Mr Khaliel, decided to transfer the NAN NUJ NAN Chairman to Pankshin District Office in Plateau State to silent the union on the matter.
“The transfer letter was signed by Mr Mambis Danja, one of the staff that was not eligible to write the 2021 Promotion Examination, but was promoted against Section 7 Subsection 020701 (b) of the PSR.
“More so, it may interest you to know that Mr Mambis Danja is from Pankshin LGA in Plateau South where insecurity and banditry is paramount. Only the Almighty God knows the sinister motives for transferring the NAN NUJ Chairman to Pankshin District Office, when there are many NAN staff in Jos, the Plateau State capital. We feel his life may also be in danger.
“The union felt and believed that intention of the purported transfer was to kill the effort of the NUJ leadership from seeking justice and address the unlawful conduct, especially the one related to the 2021 Promotion Examination and also the welfare of the staff.”
We hereby call on the Ministry of Labour and employment and the Ministry of Information and Culture for it intervention against the victimisation and threat of union members by the management.
The Ministry of Information in an attempt to resolve the unlawful conduct during the 2021 Promotion Examination, wrote to NAN in January 2022 to provide it with documents to verify our claims.
Currently, the Ministry of Information and Culture are yet to get feedback on the matter from the Agency, and Office of the Head of Service are trying to draw their conclusions on the purported transfer.
For the sake of industrial peace and harmony, we urge the authorities to resolve the looming crisis in NAN or the union will take an industrial action.
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