NAN Workers Oppose Re-appointment of Former MD
By Afa Cha, Abuja
The Joint Union of the News Agency of Nigeria urged the federal government not to reappoint former Managing Director of the Agency, Bayo Onanuga, because reappointing him would inflict pain on the staff.
Spokeman of the joint union, Gambo Haruna, who spoke on behalf of the unions at a news conference in Abuja, said since the exit of Mr Onanuga, the agency has enjoyed industrial peace and harmony.
He, however, called for the appointment of someone, who have the understanding of the workings of the agency, saying this would go a long way to restore its dwindling performance and lost glory.
“Experience has shown that individuals with no knowledge and understanding of what the agency was established to achieve, come into the agency to manipulate, bastardise the system, and ignore the conditions of service and Public Service Rules.
“NAN members of staff, therefore, wish to thank President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians for their support and understanding.
“The members of staff wish (to) inform Mr President and Nigerians that NAN currently enjoys industrial peace and harmony after the exit of Bayo Onanuga, we sincerely believe that reappointing him would inflict more pains on the staff.
“At this juncture, we call on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt and other related Practices Commission (ICPC) to expedite actions in probing the allegations on misappropriation of funds made by the Joint Union.”
The unionist also demanded the reversal of all acting appointments of some officers, who had also benefitted from January 2018 promotion, saying this was an injustice to other colleagues employed on the same grade level.
He demanded the immediate deployment of officers on posting, seconded to NAN back to their various offices, saying this discourages career progression, and a negation of the Public Service Rules.
According to him, the engagement of contract staff is not only duplication, but a calculated attempt to make a confirmed staff of the agency redundant.
“This is apart from the fact that their continued engagement is costing the agency N3.9 million monthly, while seven state offices have been closed due to the inability to pay rent,” he said.
NAN has the Joint Union under the umbrella of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Radio Television Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWUN).
Others are the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Service Employees and the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporation and Government-Owned Companies.
Don’t Fail Nigerians, NGE Urges INEC, Security Agencies, others
The Nigerian Guild of Editors has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver on its promises to conduct successful polls.
This is contained in a communique signed by NGE President, Mustpha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, at the end of a meeting of its Standing Committee in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The guild body also called on the security agencies and other stakeholders to live up to expectations in ensuring that the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for Feb.
”Nigerians desire that their votes will count and we’re expectant of free, fair and credible elections, devoid of violence.
“We call on the INEC to make good its promise of early deployment of electoral materials to polling units on election days and ensure its personnel, in their conduct, do not deviate from provisions of the Electoral Act and other laws guiding the elections.
“The NGE notes that all eyes will be on the operation of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and urges the electoral body to ensure that the devices are in top shape, to perform optimally and actualise the intended purpose of their introduction during the elections,” the guild said.
The editors also called on the electoral body to ensure the secrecy of ballots, by ensuring that its cubicles were well positioned to achieve this and cameras being kept away by voters while voting.
The guild noted the important role of the security agencies in achieving free, fair and credible elections.
The editors urged th security agencies to be unbiased and ensure that voters were able to exercise their franchise freely in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of intimidation.
The guild also urged the security agencies to be on the lookout for vote buyers with a view to apprehending and prosecuting offenders.
The editors advised operatives of various security agencies to provide adequate security for electoral officials and materials.
They also expressed concerns over the activities of some political parties since the commencement of the ongoing campaigns.
The NGE advised political parties and their candidates to play by the rules and impress on their supporters the need to avoid violence before, during and after the polls.
“We call on politicians to let their party manifestos and campaign promises guide the electorate in making their choices, and to avoid inducing voters through vote buying.
“The guild calls on the electorate to come out to perform their civic rights by speaking with their votes on election days and to avoid voter apathy,” the communique added.
Observing that the media have a role to play in ensuring free and fair elections, the NGE urged the media to be professional in their reportage and ensure proper fact checking before publication of reports.
The editors also called on all stakeholders, including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), local and international election monitors/observers to play their roles within the ambit of the law in ensuring that the nation has yet another successful elections and transition.,
The guild also noted the current challenges over the cashless policy and advised the government, especially the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to address all challenges capable of affecting the conduct of the general elections.
The editors appreciated the Ogun State government for providing an atmosphere conducive for the Standing Committee meeting to hold in the state. (NAN)
Yuletide: Reps Press Corps Visits Abuja Children’s Home, Presents Items
By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja
The House of Representatives Press Corps, at the Weekend, visited the Abuja Children’s Home located at Karu, in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), with various items showered on the children, in the spirit of the Yuletide.
The journalists who embarked on the humanitarian gestures, presented various items including bags of rice, cartons of noodles, pasta and clothing among other things.
The Corps also made a cash donation for the treatment of a numerological ailment of one of the children in the home.
Chairman of the Corps, Comrade Grace Ike, who led members to make the donation said the gesture was in the spirit of Christmas, which is to show love through sharing of gifts.
She said, “We are members of the House of Representatives Press Corps. You can call us parliamentary reporters and we feel it is the right thing to extend our hands of fellowship to people. It is Christmas and we all know Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.
“A lot of people would say journalists, what are we doing here? Our own is to inform, educate, enlighten and let the people know what is happening.
“We are the conscience of the society and that is why we are here. So we have our token to present. Do not look at the quantity of what we are giving. Look at the intention behind what we are doing. Like I would always say, it is good to give and the greatest of it all is love and love simply means affection.
The Administrator of the Home, Musa Danjuma Yakubu, expressed gratitude for the gesture, just as he called on well-meaning individuals and organizations to emulate the gesture.
He highlighted the challenges of the Home including feeding, operational vehicles, dilapidated structures, and perimeter fencing, among others.
“We appreciate your coming and the most important thing is that it is not as little as you see. We appreciate the effort of your people. There is nothing that is too small for us. Every other thing, whether food, school fees and all those things we appreciate and it is people like you among other people who come to help with one thing other the other.
“For the school, we have students that are even in the university and one graduated and is already working. Another is on the four hundred level and one would be going to the university in Nasarawa State University by February next year if there is life. So we appreciate your coming.
“As for feeding, well, what you have brought we would use judiciously but the challenges are surplus. Security wise just like somebody said he was here ten years ago, the perimeter fencing is breaking down. And we have a building that is almost sinking, the girls’ hostel. It was donated by one organization but I think there is a problem with the water system. I know water must find its level so it is sinking.
“We are also hoping that with time somebody would take up the responsibility of renovating them. And if you look a few metres away, it was recently commissioned on the 16th of December 2022, a skills acquisition centre donated by the NDIC (Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC). Part of it has been completed. We want to equip it.
“We have some tailors among our children. Some do shoemaking. The one I am wearing was done by one of our children in this home. He does it once in a while he is still in secondary school. We have a lady that just graduated from hairdressing.
“Other challenges are if you look at our vehicles they are almost obsolete. We do not even have utility vehicles. We have buses. One is grounded and another is working but just halfway it is down. So we need vehicles.
“Also the hostel, well the hostels are in order. The female hostel is there. The male hostel is there and we have nannies that take care of them. They do shifts and once a week, they go. We have a dining hall where they gather to eat. Some of the children go to secondary school.
“We have a physically challenged that attends school in Kuje. So she goes there and we look for a nanny that would take care of her. And one goes to a secondary school nearby. But the primary school is just within the home.
“So these are basic things that we have. And we have a hall. Sometimes we rent it out for activities. The only thing is that we do not allow alcohol here so that it does not have a negative effect on our children.”
FG Releases Twitter Negotiation Proof after Suspension
By Loveth Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has refuted the allegation by a former Twitter staff that the micro-blogging site did not negotiate with the Government in the wake of its suspension.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday in Abuja who discredited the claim also released to the media, the proof of the negotiations with the government.
It would be recalled that on June 4, 2021, Twitter operations were suspended in the country following the micro-blogging site’s alleged persistent use of activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
Contrary to the claim by the former Twitter worker, the minister said there was a long-drawn negotiation between Nigeria and Twitter at the instance of the latter, following the suspension of the platform.
“Seven days after the suspension, precisely on June 11th, 2021, we received a letter, addressed to President Buhari, from Twitter’s Vice President in charge of Public Policy, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, Sinead McSweeney, seeking to meet with us on the Twitter suspension.
“That letter kick-started a number of activities that culminated in the extensive negotiation,” he said.
The minister said after receiving the letter, the federal government announced its team to discuss with Twitter.
Mohammed said he chaired the team which comprised the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Ministers of Communications and Digital Economy and Foreign Affairs.
He said other members of the team were the Minister of Works and Housing, Minister of State for Labour and Employment and the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency.
Mohammed said following the composition of the team, they received another letter from a group, Albright Stonebridge Group, which was working at the behest of Twitter.
Other members of Twitter team, according to the minister included, Karen White, Senior Director, Public Policy, Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa; Ronan Costello, Senior Public Policy Manager, Africa, Europe, Middle East;
Also on the Twitter team were Emmanuel Lubanzadio, Head of Public Policy, Sub-Saharan Africa; Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel, and Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Senior Adviser, Albright Stonebridge Group.
“The back-and-forth negotiations culminated in a series of agreements that paved the way for the lifting of the Twitter suspension in January this year.
“Gentlemen, with the facts that we have supplied, you can now see that the fellow who reportedly alleged that Twitter did not negotiate with Nigeria is either being economical with the truth or didn’t even understand the workings of the company where he worked,” he said.
The minister said he released the proofs following requests from the media seeking a response to the allegation by the former Twitter worker and to set the records straight.
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