Mr John Idumange has opened up on why he flogged his workers, who are also union leaders of his radio station.
The Glory FM boss who spoke to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents, said he flogged the workers in self-defence. According to him, the workers were pulling back the reforms he brought to the broadcasting station.
“At about 7.20 p.m on Monday, the day RATTAWU and NUJ embarked on strike, I heard voices near my window. So I went out to see what was happening. I saw four persons, one of them a lady.
“I could recognise Tonye Yemoleigha, one of the union leaders, who was in white shirt. I asked why they were there after chasing away all the workers.
“Tonye stood up and asked if the compound belonged to me. At that point I discovered he was ready for a fight but I did not bulge.
“He brought his hands near my eyes so I blocked it. I had learnt Karate years back. One of them threw a chair at me and they all rushed to fight me. I had to fight back in self-defence. They could have beaten me up but my Karate skills rescued me” he said.
He also claimed that he uncovered a N5.7 million fraud, which led to the redeployment of some staff.
However, the Radio Bayelsa Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU), refuted his claims, saying he was working outside public service rules.
“Four of us, myself and three staff were flogged by Idumange himself. The report that it was thugs is inaccurate. It was the general manager himself that attacked and beat us up.
“We have reported the matter to the Ekeki Police Division and sought medical attention at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa. Workers have been constantly intimidated and threatened for no just cause.
“Mr John Angese, Bayelsa Council Chairman of NUJ who is a staff of Radio Bayelsa, has also been threatened with a sack. We are all being victimised for insisting that the General Manager complies with Public Service Rules.
“We have been under siege since he was appointed on Dec. 6, 2016. We are not opposed to repositioning the station which is in our interest, but we want the procedure to follow due process.
“But we are insisting that the unions should also be part of the process to ensure that the best hands are not sacrificed on the altar of nepotism, sentiment or witch-hunt.
“We are also aware of the alleged N5 million payroll fraud which Idumange claimed to have uncovered which has been referred to the Police for investigation.
“Ordinarily, in line with established procedures, an investigative panel should have been instituted to look into the matter and come up with a report with which management would act.
“All these are expressly spelt out in the Public Service Rules; however, we are also requesting for a copy of the police report after their investigation,” said Tonye, the NUJ Chairman in Radio Bayelsa.
NAN gathered that after the station went off air, the management mobilised armed security men and few employees who rebuffed the strike and reopened the station.
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