The Management of Radio Bayelsa has reversed the suspension of nine workers over an attack on the station by hoodlums protesting the Supreme Court judgment that sacked erstwhile Governor-elect, David Lyon.
A statement dated February 15, signed by Pere Fobobo, Acting General Manager, and five Directors of the broadcast organisation, said the purported suspension of the nine staff by the former general manager was ill-advised.
The statement said: “No staff of Radio Bayelsa is under compulsory leave nor indicted for the attack and destruction of property by some youths on Friday, February 14.
“The decision to send some staff on compulsory leave is not management’s decision, but that of the former general manager, Dr John Idumange, to destabilise the station.
“Dr Idumange’s appointment as General Manager of Radio Bayelsa ended with the Dickson’s administration on February 14, 2020.”
Idumange, the former general manager of the station, in a statement on February 14 said the nine affected staff were advised to proceed on a one-month compulsory leave to allow the radio station to conduct preliminary investigation into the incident.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state-owned FM station, Radio Bayelsa, was amongst facilities attacked by the protesters, who also destroyed the private residences of immediate-past Governor of the state, Seriake Dickson, and his successor, Douye Diri, on February 14.
Part of the secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party was also burnt during the protest, which made the Bayelsa State Police Command to impose a three-day dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state.
Some members of the All Progressives Congress had on February 14 staged a protest on the streets of Yenagoa to register their displeasure ahead of the swearing-in of PDP’s Diri as governor.
The apex court had ruled that Lyon’s Deputy, Degi Ereminyo, submitted forged documents, which made them ineligible to contest the state’s governorship election in the first instance.
The Independent National Electoral Commission in compliance with the judgment on Friday issued a Certificate of Return to the PDP candidate, who took the oath of office amidst tight security in the car park of the Government House, Yenagoa.
In the same vein, the state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in a statement condemned the attack and suspension of staff without any form of investigation.
The council’s Chairman and Secretary, Samuel Numonengi and Ogio Ipigansi, signed the statement, urging the station to refrain from victimising union leaders without investigation.
They urged security agencies to fish out the culprits, while decrying any form of political violence.
They described the incident as very unfortunate as the radio station was celebrated all over the world few days ago as a powerful medium for celebrating humanity and a platform for building a virile democracy.
It added: “Security agencies in the state should fish out the perpetrators of the act and bring them to book in order to serve as deterrent to others in the future.
“The people of Bayelsa should learn to shun violence and see one another as brothers, irrespective of party affiliations.
“The management of Radio Bayelsa should not victimise union members of the station by accusing them of the violent attack, but allow the police to do their job.”
Two of the nine suspended staff are the Chairmen of Radio Bayelsa Chapter of the NUJ and Radio and Television and Theatre Workers Union.