The Nigerian government has fired the heads of the six information-related parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, announced the disengagement during a meeting he held with the Chief Executives of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Voice of Nigeria (VON), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on Monday .
The Minister directed the disengaged Chief Executives to hand over to the most senior officials in their various establishments.
He thanked them for their service to the nation and wished them the best of luck in their future endeavours.
The affected chief executives are the Directors-General of NTA, Sola Omole; FRCN (Ladan Salihu); VON (Sam Worlu); NOA (Mike Omeri); NBC ( Emeka Mba) and the Managing Director of NAN (Ima Niboro).
When contacted, Mr. Niboro confirmed he and his colleagues had been removed.
“The minister met with us at 9 a.m today to inform us of government’s decision to replace us,” Mr. Niboro said.”He said he wanted us to be the first to know so we don’t get to read it on the pages of newspapers.”
“We thank President Buhari and the minister for giving us the opportunity to serve the administration for the past eight months. Some of us knew the pressure under which the government had been to remove us. So our removal this morning is understandable.
“I especially thank the minister for the gentlemanly manner he handled the whole matter. We are grateful and will continue to hold him in high esteem.”
Mr. Niboro and his five colleagues were appointed at various times by the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Minister Mohammed had given indication the officials would be fired on November 20, 2015 when he called them to a meeting where he accused them of partisanship and lack of professionalism.
At that meeting, the minister noted that government-owned media organizations had a wide range of highly trained personnel, working tools, as well as a wide reach, but had unfortunately continued to engage in “outright unprofessional conduct”.
“Why have you all chosen to play second fiddle in the country’s media landscape? I ask because the NTA and FRCN of yesterday is not the same as what we have today,” the minister had said.
“There is no denying the fact that the private radio and TV stations are doing much better, at least going by the fact that most Nigerians prefer them to the public broadcasters”.
“Indeed, most Nigerians find the private broadcasters more credible”, Mr. Mohammed noted.
He condemned the official’s disregard for editorial independence.
“They mortgaged their credibility on the altar of political correctness,” he said.