Radio Bayelsa staff flogged by GM heads for court to seek redress
Posted by News Express | 29 March 2017 | 1,858 times
•Radio Bayelsa GM John Idumange.
Mr. Tonye Yemoleigha, one of the four staff flogged by the General Manager of Glory FM Radio Bayelsa, Mr John Idumange, says he is heading for the court to seek redress.
The lingering labour dispute at the FM station operated by Bayelsa Government had reached a climax on February 22, 2017 when the General Manager reportedly flogged four union leaders on their duty posts for organising workers for a strike.
Yemoleigha, chairman of the Radio Bayelsa chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said on Tuesday that he has briefed his lawyer to sue for assault and defamation.
“After assaulting my colleagues and I with a cane, Idumange went on social media, precisely Facebook, posting my picture with the caption ‘face of a fraudulent NUJ chairman’,” Yemoleigha said.
Yemoleigha explained that Idumange’s Facebook comments had exposed his person to public ridicule and hatred as well as undermined his reputation.
“The courts are there to give us justice so I will be there. My lawyer is taking care of everything and the process will soon commence,” the union leader said.
Idumange had confirmed flogging four union leaders but said he did so in self-defence. He alleged that the unions were working against his reforms to reposition the broadcast station.
His words: “At about 7.20 p.m. on February 22, 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 on 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.”
The unions and John Idumane have been engaged in a running battle since he assumed duty on December 6, 2016 over what the NUJ and RATTAWU leaders describe as abuse of authority, privilege and actions contrary to the Public Service Rules.
It would be recalled that Bayelsa House of Assembly, and Chief of Staff, Mr Talford Ongolo, to broker peace on January 18, 2017 had failed to restore peace at the radio station operated by Bayelsa Government.
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) on March 15, 2017 concluded investigations into the industrial dispute at Radio Bayelsa with a call on Bayelsa Government to resolve the dispute promptly.