By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
The Sokoto state Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the mass deployment of its members in the service of the state government, describing the action as ‘political victimisation.’
A communique signed by the Secretary of the Council Abubakar Auwal Imam issued at the end of the Union’s Congress, the Union alleged that “the recent indiscriminate postings of some members by the Sokoto Media Corporation over alleged partisanship is condemnable and need to be reversed because the decision has stripped the battling-to-survive state owned media outfits of competent and highly experienced hands
“The members condemned the unprofessional attitudes exhibited by some of its members before and during the election period, which portrays them as subservient to political parties as this contravenes the ethic of the profession,” the Communique read.
In his comment during the meeting, Chairman of the Council, Abubakar Ias Shuni appreciated the working journalists in Sokoto for their maturity and show of professionalism, before, during and after the 2019 General Elections in the state.
In its reaction, the state government described NUJ’s position as both rash and vague.
The Director General of Sokoto state Media Corporation, who also doubles as the Director General of Media and Publicity to Governor Tambuwal in a statement made available to Newsdiaryonline Saturday said the Union had not made any effort to determine the veracity or otherwise of its claim.
“Our attention is drawn to the contents of the communique issued from the congress of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Sokoto State Council of Saturday, April 20 2019, particularly the part concerning the recent deployment of staff of the Corporation to different units and the State Ministry of Information.
“The NUJ Congress referred to the postings as “indiscriminate”, without being specific and fully explanatory on how the exercise can be deemed as such, with reference to the relevant regulations and rules of the civil service and the broadcast industry.
“The assertion by the NUJ that the deployments were political is both hasty and vague, as it has not come to our notice that the Union, whose profession is founded on investigation, has made any effort to determine the veracity or otherwise of that claim.
“The Corporation however, wishes to categorically assert its statutory prerogative to deploy its staff as it deems appropriate, under the regulations guiding the civil service and the broadcast industry.
“The suggestion that the Media Corporation is facing or will face challenges of competence following the postings, constitutes a vote of no confidence on its members that are deployed to the vacant positions resulting from the exercise.
“The Union should have endeavoured to ascertain the competence or otherwise of the affected staff before writing them off as unsuitable.
“While we appreciate the call by NUJ on its members to eschew partisan politics in their profession, the Corporation feels the Union ought to have instituted measures to restrain practising journalists from the misdemeanors some of them openly exhibited during the recent elections in the state.
“We believe the greater responsibility of the NUJ is ensuring an adherence to professional ethics by its members than shielding erring practitioners from the lawful consequences of misconduct.
“In conclusion, the Sokoto State Media Corporation wishes to task the NUJ to carry out a proper, formal investigation into the recent postings in our establishment with a view to contributing to the progress of the profession and the media industry as a whole,” Shekara stated.