4 Borno NUJ officials resign in protest against N12 million land scandal
Four Borno executives of the Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ ), have tendered a joint resignation letter to their respective chapels over a case of corruption.
The Exco members that tendered resignation letters are Babagana Bukar (Vice-Chairman), Mrs Hauwa Bata (Treasurer), Chiroma Ali Ibrahim (Assistant Secretary), and Dauda Iliya (Financial Secretary).
Their resignation was contained in an internal memo, jointly signed by all four of them and issued to newsmen on Wednesday.
The resigned executive members said in the letter that they felt compelled to resign following a breach of trust by the leadership of the union, under the chairmanship of Alhaji Bulama Talba.
They alleged that Talba connived with Ibrahim Mohammed, the union’s secretary and Habib Saleh, the auditor, to sell plots of land owned by the union—the proceeds of which they shared among themselves.
The letter reads, “We will like to bring into the kind notice of members of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Borno State Chapter about a scandalous act in which the chairman of our great union, Comrade Bulama Talba connived with the secretary, Mohammed Ibrahim as well as the auditor, Habib Sale and sold four plots of NUJ land near Bakasi housing estate, Maiduguri Borno State.
The state leadership of NUJ, the letter said, sought permission of the union’s national hierarchy to sell the plots, citing, as a reason, threats of revocation if they were not developed.
“The trio without consulting the remaining state council officials, without convening a State Executive Council (SEC), meeting or congress meeting wrote a letter dated 15th October 2021 to NUJ national secretariat seeking approval to sell the 2 plots of land for the purpose of fencing the entire NUJ land, alleging that Borno State government is planning to revoke the property if not developed and was granted approval on the 20th October.
However, upon inquiry, it was later discovered, the letter further alleged, that all of the four lands were sold.
“Four months after the approval, the chairman, secretary and auditor shrouded the disgraceful act in secrecy until on 22nd January 2022, when the State Working Committee (SWC), had its meeting.
“Surprisingly, the matter was not on the agenda of the meeting, and when we inquire to know the position of the land, the chairman vehemently denied knowledge that some portion of the land was disposed of.
“After a long interrogation, the secretary, Mohammed Ibrahim confessed that they sold four (4) instead of the two (2) plots earlier approved by the national secretariat at the cost of N12 million naira, and shamelessly shared N11 million among the three of them, while N1 million was sent to the national secretariat as checkup (sic) dues.
“Sadly, up to this moment, there is no single block placed for fencing of the land, hence disassociating ourselves with this disgraceful act. It is in light of the above, that we hereby tender our resignation letter in accordance with Article 5 (e)(5) of the NUJ constitution and after due consultation with our respective chapels to protect our integrity and that of the union.
“We will like to appreciate the support and cooperation given to us by the entire members of NUJ Borno Council throughout our stay as officials,” the letter concluded.
Meanwhile, in an internal memo issued to all the Chapels of the NUJ by the indicted Secretary of the Council, Mohammed Ibrahim said at the meeting attended by the indicted Chairman, Bulama Talba and representatives of all the Chapels that made up the council, a resolution was reached where an apology tendered by the indicted officials for not following due process before selling the land was accepted.
That it was resolved that a seven-man Committee for Fencing of the Land, one member from each Chapel (as forwarded), should be constituted and move to do the needful.
That proceeds from the sale of the land should be remitted to the NUJ Borno Council account in UBA and transaction alert should be received by Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer against Chairman only.
That the SEC also recommended that a Three-man Reconciliation Committee, comprising of elderly members should be formed to harmonise differences between the union executive members and other similar issues for stability to prevail.
SEC appealed to four officers Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Financial Secretary and Assistant Secretary who tendered resignation letters the previous day not to abandon the union and continue in office.
SEC appealed to the National Secretariat to take action on setting up of a panel of enquiry as the matter has been settled amicably and the house is now in order,” the letter reads.