Despite Their Loyalty, Kogi State Newspaper Reporters Suffer Hardships

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By John Peter, Lokoja.
Despite their unflinching loyalty and support to the government of Governor Yahaya Bello, the reporters of Kogi State Newspaper Corporation, publishers of The Graphic newspaper, suffer in abject poverty unleashed on workers in Kogi State as a result of endless staff screening exercise.
It is of note that officers of the newspaper house never participate in any strike called upon by the state labour leaders and have being deeply involved in promoting the policies and programmes of the government even as they are never tired writing on the good sides of Governor Bello.
Most affected is the Executive Editor of The Graphic, Mr. James Oyewole, who is labeled as “uncleared” and has not received his monthly salary since 14 months ago; while the Managing Director, Mr. Dayo Thomas, received the backlog of his seven months’ salary just  last week.
Other prolific writers who have been labeled as “uncleared” (not cleared) and who have not received their salaries since the inception of the screening exercise are Simon Oyewole, the Sports Editor, Bilqis Mohammed, a female reporter and Abdul Aji, the Political Editor who is also a renowned writer and researcher of great repute in the state media house.
Suffering the same fate is Nathaniel Drisu, the Assistant News Editor who has put all his efforts and dedication, to the service of the media.
One of the most intriguing development is that Mr. Abdul Aji, who features in not less than three pages of the newspaper every week with interesting write-ups, is said to have been invited by the Technical Committee of the Appeal Committee to give account of about one million Naira transferred to his account in November 2016 for the upkeep of a deceased relative’s family from a business account; a matter that may lead to the loss of his job by the committee.
In the Production department, Mr. Samuel Akah, the acting Production Editor, along with all officers in the department, except one, are labeled as “uncleared” and are facing severe hardship.
The Graphic Chapel chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Emmanuel Gwatana, in a chat with this writer appealed to Kogi State Government not to throw away the bath water with the child in an attempt to ride the state civil service of ghost workers.
Gwatana called on Kogi State Government to temper justice with mercy by allowing the loyal reporters to be, as throwing them out of job now would make them a laughing stock before the public.
He said the union is disturbed to discover that while hardworking workers are labeled as “uncleared”, the lazy ones and those who have absconded are smiling to the bank to collect their salary every month, adding that it will be an indelible disgrace and morale damning on reporters at the newspaper house if any of them loose his or her job as a result of the screening exercise.
John Peter of Kogi State University is on internship with The Graphic Newspaper.

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