The State Executive Council, SEC, of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Benue State Council, has sacked the Steven Ijoh led Caretaker Committee of the Council.

This was disclosed in a Communique signed by Tor Vande-Acka and Victor Bajah, Chairman and Secretary of the Communique Drafting Committee respectively, after an Emergency SEC meeting held to deliberate on issues affecting the Union in the state.

In the Communique made available to The Next Edition in Makurdi on Tuesday, SEC said it took the decision to save the Union and property of the Council from imminent collapse.

SEC immediately, appointed a new Caretaker Committee to man the affairs of the Union.

The new officials include Jerry Tyosase of the Oracle Chapel, Chairman, John Shiaondo from the Correspondent Chapel, Secretary, Grace Ichakpa, NTA Chapel, Member, Paul Otumala, the Prime Chapel, Member and Irene Onehi of the Federal Information Chapel, Member.

The new officials were immediately sworn in by the National Vice-President of the NUJ for Zone ‘D’, Mr. Kris Atsaka, in the presence of the National Treasurer of the NUJ, Dele Adetumbi.

SEC said it took the decision to dissolve the former Caretaker Committee, bearing in mind that the directive of the Industrial Court, sitting in Makurdi was not adhered to.

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SEC, therefore, invoked the relevant sections of the NUJ Constitution in removing the former Caretaker Committee, which it described as illegal.

The Communique read in part, “The SEC of the NUJ, Benue State Council, made up of all Chairmen and Secretaries of chapels in the council met on Friday, February 11, 2022 by invoking Article 5, Section D, Sub (7) (a&b) to hold an Emergency Congress.

While it stated that “The State Council of the NUJ is in dire state of despair and disrepair”, SEC noted that “the alleged imposition of a Caretaker Committee of the NUJ, Benue state council was totally illegal, null and void as well as totally at variance with the provisions of the Constitution of the NUJ and the directive of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Makurdi.

“Since the imposition of the Caretaker Committee contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the Union, the illegal body acted completely in gross violations of known rules and laws as enshrined in the NUJ Constitution.

“SEC particularly frowned at the abuse of power by an (the) illegally constituted committee allegedly led by one Steve Ijoh which unconstitutionally announced the dissolution of an elected Executive Committee of the Voice Newspaper Chapel and even went ahead to drag the Chapel Chairman to the Police without recourse to the organs of the Union.

“The actions of Steve Ijoh are clearly anti-Union activities. It is curious and difficult to understand where an illegal caretaker derive such powers from, as it totally lacks the power whatsoever and in any material particular to embark on such a voyage.

“SEC is particularly embarrassed and taken aback with so much pain of how an illegal caretaker frequently harasses and demands money from the management of the Union’s schools and therefore stressed the urgent need to save the schools from imminent collapse.

“SEC noted with dismay the non-payment of salaries of Staff of the Union for about five months owing to the abuse of financial processes, procedures and maladministration being perpetrated by the illegal caretaker committee that is anything but transparent in its financial dealings.”

Therefore, following what SEC described as illegalities, it resolved and directed “The immediate sack of the 5-member Caretaker Committee, led by Steve Ijoh who were illegally selected without adherence and in keeping to the provisions of the NUJ Constitution.

“SEC accordingly directed the new Caretaker Committee to as a matter of urgency write the Banks in which Union accounts are domiciled as well as management of NUJ schools to forthwith, discontinue any form of transaction(s) with the illegal and now disbanded Caretaker Committee.”

It also appreciated members of the public for their understanding and cooperation, while it strives “to recover the structures of the NUJ from some meddlesome interlopers.”