Unease in Information Ministry Over ‘De-registration’ Of NUJ
There is disquiet in the Ministry of Information and Culture following a circular that recognized only four unions with the exception of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).
In a circular dated 31st July, 2018 signed by the director of human resources, Mr. S.U. Ewa, titled: "Recognised Unions in the Ministry", it states that “it has come to the notice of management that several associations as well as the Legacy Group parade themselves in the ministry purporting to cater for the interest of staff.
“Henceforth, except for the unions recognized in the ministry as associations of trade union, other interest groups have been proscribed.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the unions recognized in the ministry for the time being are: Association of Sebior Civil Servants of Nigeria; Nigeria Civil Service Union; Nigeria Union of Public Service Secretaries and Reportorial, and Amalgamated Union of Printing and Allied Workers.”
Ewa warned that flouting the directive will ‘attract appropriate sanction.”
However, the NUJ Chapel in the ministry in a statement to members dismissed the circular, stressing that the “Nigeria Union of Journalists as an umbrella body of journalists in the country is not affiliated to the so-called Association of Trade Union and has operated in Federal and State Ministries of Information as a professional body affiliated to Nigeria's main Central Labour Organisation (NLC/TUC).”
The statement signed by chairman and secretary respectively, Comrade Ikechukwu Eyah and Comrade Pascal Dogo, noted that “while members of Association of Trade Union in core civil service as listed in the circular are vested with the powers to negotiate for staff welfare packages during periodic national celebrations, position of NUJ remains the same but pursues members' allowances such as Weigh-In, Wardrobe, etc through our National body.
“We hereby state that NUJ cannot be proscribed in a professional ministry like ours,” pointing out that “Ministries of Justice and Health, etc. have never proscribed Law Officers Association and Nigeria Medical Association, respectively, even though all the unions listed in the circular exist in such ministries.”
They called on their members to stay calm while the uncertain nature of the circular is addressed.