NAN MD, Onanuga, accused of fraud by staff

851, Bayo Onanuga

Crisis is brewing in the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, following opposition to the likely reappointment of Bayo Onanuga as the organisation’s Managing Director.

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Onunuga, a veteran journalist was appointed NAN’s MD in 2016 for a three-year tenure, which expired on Saturday, May 25, 2019.

However, the likelihood of him being reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari is facing stiff opposition from NAN staff, who in a letter to the Secretary to the federal government jointly signed by the agency’s chapter of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE),  Radio Television Theatre and Art Workers Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU)  and their Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporation and Government Owned Companies, SSACGOC counterpart are levelling  strings of allegations bordering on fraud and injustice against the Ogun-born journalist.

In the letter entitled: “SAVE NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA (NAN) FROM EMINENT COLLAPSE: Please probe the Agency now”, and dated May 23, the associations accused Onanuga of defrauding NAN and called on security agencies to launch investigation into the financial activities of the agency under his watch.

The letter reads: “The four labour unions in NAN met to review the tenure of our outgoing MD, came out with an assessment and resolved that Mr Bayo Onanuga is incompetent in managing the affairs of the agency in the last three years. He is the worst and most corrupt manager in the history of the agency.

“The unions noted with regrets massive diversion of government revenue that is being siphoned through the NAN Bizcom which had a separate account aside the approved TSA, and converted to personal use by the MD and his cronies.

“We are therefore calling on the ICPC and EFCC to swing into action and probe all the transactions of NAN Bizcom account in the last three years.”

They alleged Onanuga of diverting monies NAN made during its 40th anniversary celebration through donations from organisations including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Dangote Company, saying: “NAN was supposed to celebrate its 40th anniversary in October 2018, corporate organisations like NNPC and Dangote Company among others donated monies to the Agency for the celebration. Onanuga sacked the committee and its Chairman and failed to account for the millions raised by the committee,”

Threatening fire and brimstone if reappointed, the staff also accused him of not applying the maxim, “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” on the grounds that he gave two journalists the boot for writing a fake story whereas he committed similar infraction that landed NAN in court.

According to them: “NAN slammed with N500m law suit as a result of libellous report he published as NAN MD against the former NEMA boss, whereas he has sacked two reports for filing fake reports without following due process. The case is also in court.”


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