The Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has told the Department of State Security, DSS, to mind its business of national security and stop fiddling in the internal affairs of the union in Abuja.
The position of the NUJ is contained in a statement it issued after four of its officials: Chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche; Vice Chairman, Osaretin Osadebamwen; Secretary, Ochiaka Ugwu; and Treasurer, Aisha Kadala, were invited to answer questions at the FCT Command of the Service on Friday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 7, 2021.
Their invitation followed petitions by a Taiwo Abubakar. Abubakar, who the Union says is unknown to it.
Abubakar alleged in two separate petitions that the officials leased out a part of the building and converted the money to their personal use, a claim denied by the officials.
The chairman was specifically alleged to be living extravagantly, flying with private jets, 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.
In a statement after visits, the NUJ FCT asked the DSS to focus on matters of national security and stop being used in others matter outside their area of jurisdiction.
The statement reads in part: “We are not unaware of efforts by some faceless individuals masquerading as members 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 matter that it should have done due diligence on.
“To begin to ask NUJ FCT Council officials to validate what are outright falsehoods and subjecting 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 cower 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.”