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DSS Harassing Our Members, NUJ FCT Raises Alarm

The Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT chapter, has raised the alarm over alleged harassment of its members by the Department of State Security (DSS).

The NUJ FCT issued a statement on Tuesday, accusing the DSS of fulfilling the desires of people who are bent on causing disaffection among its members.

The council noted that the state security service has invited members of its executive team twice over petitions written by one Taiwo Abubakar.

According to the council, its chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche, vice chairman, Osaretin Osadebamwen, secretary, Ochiaka Ugwu, and treasurer, Aisha Kadala, visited the FCT Command of the DSS on December 3 and December 7 on invitations of the state service.

It noted that the petitioner, who is not a member of the NUJ, had claimed officials of the council “leased out a part of the building and converted the money to their personal use”, which the officials denied.

The petitioner was said to have also accused the council chairman, Ogbeche, of “living extravagantly, flying private jet as well as having fake academic credentials from the University of Calabar and fond of anti-government posts on social media.”

While denying any wrong doing, the council wondered when anti-corruption became part of the functions of the DSS.

It wrote, “We are not unaware of efforts by some faceless individuals masquerading as members to cause disaffection in the NUJ FCT Council. It is a shame that the DSS will yield itself to such obnoxious tactics. If the Service was focused on national security, it will not dabble into matter that it should have done due diligence on.

“To begin to ask NUJ FCT Council officials to validate what are outright falsehoods and subjecting them to psychological and physical trauma is unfortunate and regrettable.

“If the Service were that diligent, it should have known that the Chairman of Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, graduated from the University of Calabar, and did his National Youth Service in Lafia, Nasarawa state. Besides, the possession of the same are not necessary prerequisite in running for office in the NUJ when there are other qualifications in that regard.

“Also, it is a wonder that the DSS has now taken on the functions of anti-corruption agencies over a lease that was sanctioned by the Congress of the Union.

“The idea of trying to cower the Union and its officials from performing their constitutional roles of holding government and its officials accountable as well as weaken citizens’ rights to hold and air their opinions is undemocratic and an infringement on constitutionally guaranteed rights,” read the statement from the Council.

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