Unpaid Salaries: Reverse Suspension Of Journalist, YCN, IPC Tell Imo Governor

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Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo State

The indefinite suspension handed to a journalist, Vivian Ottih, by the Imo State-owned Imo Broadcasting Coloration is undeserved and should be reversed. This position was can versed by the Young Citizens of Nigeria (YCN) in a statement on Tuesday by its Director of Media, Augustine Nwaobi.

Ottih, also a lawyer, is a Senior Editor with Imo Broadcasting Corporation-owned Orient FM in Owerri, the state capital.

YCN admonished the Imo State governor, Sen. Hope Uzodinma and his administration to “thread cautiously on issues of public importance”, just as it condemned the suspension of Ottih, the Chairperson of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), over the request for payment of three months’ salary on Facebook.

YCN noted that one of the characteristics of a progressive government was the ability to respond positively to issues affecting citizen’s welfare.

Said YCN: “Imo Governor should know that the decision to suspend the NAWOJ Chairperson is an attack on Nigerian journalists. It is a confrontation against the media industry and aimed at silencing members of the fourth estate of the realm.

“We call on him to address the issue raised amicably. He should know that a matter that affects a journalist anywhere in the world is of global concern, hence the need to manage the situation with wisdom. A worker deserves wages”.

In a related reaction, the International Press Centre (IPC) declared the government’s action as victimisation, demanding the unconditional recall of the suspended editor.

IPC Executive Director, Lanre Arogundade, who made the demand in a statement, maintained that the sanction was an infringement on her fundamental right under the constitution and international instruments including Article 23 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Arogundade said non-payment of salaries, especially during the coronavirus pandemic would put media practitioners in economic hardship, pains and penury.

Lamented he: “The State Governments that ordinarily should be the most protective of their workers’ welfare, are now the biggest culprits needlessly owing salaries for periods up to three months thus threatening their workers’ welfare”.

Noting that Ottih’s allegation should have been one of sobriety, IPC held that it should not have ellicited anger leading to the victimisation of an innocent soul who dared to speak for others.

The body called on the Imo government to unconditionally recall Ottih and pay all salaries owed journalists in its employment.

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