“Leave us alone, focus on issues of national security,” NUJ tells DSS
… You aren’t anti-graft-corruption agency
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, has called the Department of State Security, DSS, to focus on issues of national security and stop harassing its officials.
A statement by the council chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche made available to newsmen on Tuesday, said its officials including himself, Vice Chairman, Osaretin Osadebamwen, Secretary, Ochiaka Ugwu, and Treasurer, Aisha Kadala, were invited to the FCT Command of the Service on December 3 and Tuesday, December 7, 2021, respectively over a petition by a certain Taiwo Abubakar.
Abubakar, who the Union said is unknown to it, had alleged in two separate petitions that the officials leased out a part of Union’s building and converted the money to their personal use, a claim the officials denied.
According to the statement, Ogbeche was specifically alleged to be living an extravagant life, flying private jet as well as having fake academic credentials from the University of Calabar and fond of anti-government posts on social media.
On Tuesday, the council officials who arrived the DSS FCT Command office by 12:05pm did not leave until 4:23pm.
The union asked the DSS to concentrate on weightier matters of national security and stop being used in matters outside its purview.
“We are not unaware of efforts by some faceless individuals masquerading as members of the union, to cause disaffection in the NUJ FCT Council. It is a shame that the DSS will yield itself to such obnoxious tactics. If the Service was focused on national security, it will not dabble into matters that it should have done due diligence on.
“To begin to ask NUJ FCT Council officials to validate what are outright falsehoods and subject them to psychological and physical trauma is unfortunate and regrettable.
“If the Service were that diligent, it should have known that the Chairman of Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, graduated from the University of Calabar, and did his National Youth Service in Lafia, Nasarawa state. Besides, the possession of the same are not necessary prerequisite in running for office in the NUJ when there are other qualifications in that regard.
“Also, it is a wonder that the DSS has now taken on the functions of anti-corruption agencies over a lease that was sanctioned by the Congress of the Union.
“The idea of trying to cow the Union and its officials from performing their constitutional roles of holding government and its officials accountable as well as weaken citizens’ rights to hold and air their opinions, is undemocratic and an infringement on constitutionally guaranteed rights,” the statement reads.