Impeachment: Kaduna NUJ Chairman breaks silence, says allegations against him baseless

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By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON, Kaduna.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna State Council, Alhaji Garba Mohammad has finally opened up on the crisis rocking the Council as work of mischief makers, describing allegations against him as baseless and unfounded.
 
He broke the silence in a letter dated October 2, 2016, addressed to the office of the Vice Chairman in the Council.
 
In the letter titled “Re: Impeachment” he described the Congress that was alleged to have impeached him as inconclusive.
Alhaji Muhammad noted that even if the allegations against him were true, he deserved a fair hearing as stipulated by the NUJ Constitution before any disciplinary action can be justified.
 
The full letter dated 2nd October, 2016 reads;
The Vice Chairman,
NUJ Kaduna Council,
Kaduna.
 
Re: Impeachment.
I wish to respond to your letter earlier copied me by the National Secretariat, but first will begin by observing some constitutional breaches by the Council led by the Acting chairman.
 
1.The Congress that was alleged to have impeached me, I understand, was inconclusive insofar that, after the acting chairman took the motion and the seconding motion, she refused to take a counter motion, an act that generated protest and the congress meeting ended inconclusive.
 

  1. There were also procedural errors in arriving at decisions of penalty. Moreover, to my understanding, the purported impeachment has no place in our constitution.

 

  1. The acting chairman, who seemed biased at the Congress meeting was a judge in her own case. I therefore hold that she could not have been just in a matter that she had vested interest.

 

  1. Fair hearing was not also given me before the purported impeachment as the issues raised only came up while I was away for Hajj. Therefore, no notice was served on me neither was I given an opportunity to respond to the issues raised.

 

  1. Take note that the Zone A meeting held in Katsina also observed that due constitutional procedure was not allowed and advised you to follow same for peaceful resolution of the matter.

 
ALLEGATION
On the allegations contained in the letters dated 27th September, 2016 from the National Secretariat and 28th September, 2016 from the Council to respond as follows:
 

  1. That it was not true that I did not hand over properly to the Vice Chairman as all issues that needed to be attended to in my absence, vital documents relating to such were minuted on and left with the Council Secretary, Dauda Idris Doka for the attention of the Vice Chairman, Zhiro James Jatau. This was after placing a call to her to notify her of my emergency call to camp for Hajj.

 

  1. On the allegation that I am a paid staff of the National Assembly and attached Aide to Distinguished Senator Bala Na’Allah, I observe that this was not part of the initial allegations raised during the congress. Albeit, i know that the NUJ constitution is silent on such issues. In any case, I hereby reiterate that I am a Consultant to the Distinguished Senator Bala Ibn Na’ Allah.

 

  1. The planned naming of Kaduna Council after late Senator Tanko Ayuba contrary to the allegation, was discussed at the State Working Committee (SWC) Meeting and taken to the State Executive Committee (SEC). The Congress ratified it on 27th July, 2016. It was therefore not a unilateral decision and not taken alone as alleged. A communique on the Congress decision was issued and published and aired by some media. Some members were interviewed and they commended the decision in glowing languages. Among them was John Femi Adi and Benjamin Isaiah aired on AIT.
  2. The said files I was accused of “removing” were my creation on assumption of office as a means of documentation and not the Secretary’s. On the said day, the Council Secretary, Dauda Idris made some financial request and I demanded for previous approvals. To my dismay, when he brought the file, vital documents were missing. When I probed further, to my shock, other documents were nowhere to be found. This led me to demand for other files. And I was embittered as other files were empty with no single document in them.

 
I also discovered, that many letters for events and important notifications were not dispatched but left in the files by Dauda Idris Doka. All these happened in the presence of the Council Financial Secretary, John Femi Adi who, seeing what transpired between Doka and I, advised me to go with the files. Adi opined that more damages could be done in my absence should I leave the files behind. To quote Adi, he said “Chairman, you are on transit, keep the files in your house, when you return from the Hajj, we will sort things out”. I thought Adi’s advice was to safeguard the interest of the Council, I heeded the advice.
 
The Secretary put the files in a carton and the driver took it to the vehicle.
 
With regards to the vehicle, it is the tradition of any serving chairman to have in his possession their official vehicle even while out of town.
 
Moreover, the Council has two other vehicles; one attached to the Secretary and the other a general purpose Hiase Bus, which was in good condition before I travelled.
 

  1. On NUJ Media Summit in Abeokuta, I did not WARN the Vice Chairman as she alleged, but advised that the Council should not borrow money due to paucity of funds. In fact, I advised that they should source for financial assistance as is the tradition to aid the trip. This is because all we had in the Council savings then was N172,000 (one hundred and seventy two thousand naira) which though not enough, was meant to service outstanding wages and debt. Moreover, I told the Vice Chairman to notify me of the names of members selected as delegates to represent us in Abeokuta.

 
Would I have made this demand if I had WARNED her not to go as alleged? While in the Camp at Mondo, the Vice Chairman, Zhiro Jatau who covered the inaugural flight and I met and discussed at length before my departure for Saudi. She did not at any time give inkling of any problem or any of these allegations.
Even while in Saudi, we communicated with each other as well as other members of the Executive, and at no time did anyone of them complain of any problem.
 
I hope that the SWC, SEC, Congress, the Zone and National Secretariat will appreciate that, all these efforts were intended to safeguard the interest of the Council secretariat and the union at large.
 
The letter is copied the NUJ National President, National Secretary, VP Zone ‘A’, Secretary Zone ‘A’. All Kaduna Council SEC members, Chairman Advisory Committee, NUJ, Kaduna Council, Chairman Ethic and Disciplinary Committee, and
all Chapels.
It would be recalled that Garba Mohammad was purpotedlly impeached in a very questionable circumstance while he was in Saudi Arabia for Hajj exercise.

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