Crisis in Edo NUJ, Obaseki’s money tear journalists apart – Vanguard reporter wanted
By: Omede, James Samuel, Benin.
There is palpable chaos at the NUJ Secretariat Edo state as some journalists accused the Edo State correspondent of Vanguard newspapers and close media aide to former Governor Adams Oshiomhole, Mr Simon Ebegbulem, of coveting to himself monies allegdly meant journalists by government.
As at Press Time, URHOKPOTA REPORTERS could not ascertain whether this money was approved officially by government or whether it was appropriated for, but preliminary finding indicate that such payments are not appropriated for hence apparently unlawful.
Some of the journalists who spoke with URHOKPOTA REPORTERS in Benin said that “about N10 million largesse was approved by government last week Thursday”.
This money was allegedly given by the government to Mr Ebegbulem, “for settlement of journalists” to write favourable stories about the government.
But the unease started when some journalists accused Simon Ebebulem of “claiming sole ownership of the money leaving other hungry journalists outraged and ready to fight like Edo State House of Assembly members”.
But investigation by URHOKPOTA REPORTERS indicate that the NUJ secretary cashed the N5m Cheque from Oshiomhole as “parting gift to NUJ members”. Obaseki delayed the cheque since. He just released the money. Simon allegedly took the money from the NUJ secretary and gave 300 thousand Naira each to only 8 people who were considered as ” Core APC Reporters” and this discrimination provoked the rest who started the protest.
When contacted by URHOKPOTA REPORTERS for response on the matter, the Edo State NUJ Secretary General, Mr Alemma Aliu of Guardian newspaper, denied the insinuation that Simon Ebegbulem collected monies belonging to the Union but he however corroborated that there was actually “personal issues” that he claims does not in any way concern the NUJ.
“No individual can collect any money meant for the NUJ, so the story is not true” Alemma said.
Investigation carried out by URHOKPOTA REPORTERS indicate that the money was actually approved by the former governor to journalists who helped his candidate during the election but the money was only recently disbursed by this government, and because Simeon Ebegbulem was the middle man during the tenure of Oshiomhole, he allegedly collected the money.
Meanwhile, Simon Ebegbulem has reportedly absconded to the Europe and many fear whether he would likely return. URHOKPOTA REPORTERS’ secret cameras spotted Mr Ebegbulem in a flight to Amsterdam last Wednesday morning.
Mr Ebegbulem is suspected to be continuing his trip to the United States of America and many of the journalists fear that he may have absconded with their monies, which by the way was not appropriated for in the budget – thus apparently unlawful.