The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Labour and Employment, Information and National Orientation to investigate the alleged anti-labour activities and illegal promotions at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) over the last five years.
The House has also resolved that NAN should immediately recall the affected National Union of Journalists (NUJ) chairman from Plateau State to the headquarters where he had served meritoriously, pending the conclusion of the investigation.
Consequently, the lawmakers directed that the NAN managing director and Editor-in-Chief should ensure immediate payment of all outstanding beneficiaries to the NUJ chairman (NAN chapter) and ensure that he is not victimised in any way knowing that he owes all the staff care of duty.
These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the need to investigate reported cases of victimisation and anti-labour activities at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) moved by Hon. Babatunde Lawrence Ayeni during plenary yesterday.
The lawmaker in his motion said certain officers at NAN had in recent times embarked on victimisation of top executive members of the NUJ, who in conjunction with other affiliate unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) protested against the illegal promotion in 2021, which he alleged generated so much tension in the organisation.
He expressed concerns that the NUJ chairman, NAN chapter, was transferred to Plateau State from the NAN headquarters in Abuja as punishment for speaking against acts of illegalities in the agency.
The lawmaker said the purported transfer of the NUJ chairman (NAN chapter) was in contravention of the provisions of Section 9 subsection 6(a) and (b) of the Nigerian Labour Act, CAP LI, 2004 and Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He revealed that some staff enjoyed double promotion within a period of one year, contrary to the provisions of Section 7, sub section B and C of the Public Service Rules (PSR) and Part IV, subsections 10, 17, 18, 19(iii) and 24 of the Public Service Rules as it relate to appointments, promotion and discipline issued by Federal Civil Service of the Federation.
He added that the fallout of the illegal promotions has impacted negatively on the morale, loyalty and commitment of hundreds of staff who have been shortchanged by such unpatriotic acts.
The committee was asked to invite the Head of Service of the Federation and Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment with a view to ensuring that the sanctity of the public service is maintained.
Contributing to the motion, Hon. Peter Akpatason (APC, Edo) said it was worrisome that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government are engaged in secret recruitments and biased promotions.
He said such actions by the MDAs would lead to the demoralisation of staff and decline in productivity.
The House, however, directed the committees to “recommend necessary sanctions for anyone found culpable, which may include declaration as unfit for managerial positions any of the officers involved in the inglorious actions, demotion, dismissal and prohibition from holding forthwith, any office that may further empower them and their cohorts to frustrate human capacity development and human dignity.