Dr Qasim Akinreti
BEING HAND OVER NOTE PRESENTED BY DR QASIM OLALERE AKINRETI, CHAIRMAN NUJ LAGOS STATE COUNCIL, 2017 – 2020, TO MR LEYE AJAYI NEW CHAIRMAN NUJ LAGOS STATE COUNCIL, ON FRIDAY DECEMBER 19TH, 2020
I give Almighty Allah all the glory for His mercies and grace throughout my tenure.
The hand over was delayed due to the inaccuracies observed in the financials report which the External Auditor has agreed to amend accordingly.
This hand over note is divided into three parts namely assets and liabilities, contractual agreements and litigations.
I took over the Chairmanship of NUJ Lagos State council from Mr. Deji Elumoye on September 29, 2017 with the following assets and liabilities.
Cash at Eco bank account. Balance of N250, 000.00.
A One-storey NUJ Secretariat office at 9A Iyalla street Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos.
NUJ lighthouse Complex at 3/5 Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island, Lagos (In a deplorable state). A two-storey NUJ Guest House at Adeola Street, Somolu, Lagos.(Uncompleted )
The NUJ/ Pen-Jewel Abaren land Project at Obafemi Owode Council
area of Ogun state. Sound Pen estate land Project at Obafemi Owode Council Area of Ogun state documents (fully allocated) NUJ Ewu Elepe Ikorodu land allocation documents.
One (1) functional 18-Seater Toyota Hummer bus (Donated by the Lagos State Government).
One 18-Seater Hiace bus at the police station along Ilesa – Ile -Ife expressway in Osun State (Accidented. ) One Siena Car (Unserviceable).
DURING MY THREE YEARS TENURE
The following assets and liabilities were handed over to the incoming administration;
ECO bank balance is N13, 327,910.02. (Thirteen million, three hundred and twenty-seven thousand, nine hundred and ten naira and two kobo as at 4TH DECEMBER,2020).Union Bank balance is N4, 521,807.66 (Four million, five hundred and twenty-one thousand, eight hundred and seven-naira sixty-six kobo AS AT 4TH DECEMBER,2020.). An account opened to separately account for Abaren land recovery activities.
Uncredited cheque of N5,000,000 (Five million naira) by Epega & Co. (vide Mr. Segun Opayemi) representing part payment from the recoverable rent income from lighthouse audited account. The cheque is presently in custody of the council lawyer Jiti Ogunye Chambers. For onward remittance to NUJ. Note that 10% legal commission is agreed while 10% commission on recovery is proposed for the Independent Auditor.
Access bank account balance N933, 383.69. A PenJewel / NUJ joint signatory account. No business was transacted on the account during my three-year tenure.V. N1 million Treasury Bills.
TOTAL : N23,283,101.37.
A two-storey NUJ remodeled Secretariat complex (at 60% completion state, see attached progress report) at 9A Iyalla Street Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos. For which the NUJ Lagos council remain grateful to the Lagos state government for the great support and attention.
Lighthouse property documents were recovered from Epega & Co. via the audit activities and other effort from Lagos state Ministry of lands.
NUJ lighthouse Complex at 3/5 Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. Now better managed and enhanced with the service of a professional facility manager – Nodes Technologies
A two-storey NUJ Guest House at Adeola Street, Somolu, Lagos. (Uncompleted). Discussions with private developers in progress to partnership the Council on the complex for a build, operate and transfer scheme through Nodes Technologies.
Freehold Land Properties:
10 plots of land (Worth of N12 million) for the proposed NUJ/Badagry Community Radio project at Ajido, Badagry. The parcel of the land was generously donated by the Ajido Community under the town development scheme. The efforts of Prince Adeyinka Amosu of FRCN and the Oba of Ajido Kingdom in this regard are highly remarkable and remained appreciated.Six plots of land for farming along Kobape, Abeokuta Expressway purchased in 2018 from the NUJ Ogun state council.The NUJ/ Pen-Jewel Abaren land Project at Obafemi Owode Council area of Ogun state.
3a. An Unallocated 100 plots within the (3) above was discovered.
One (1) functional 18 Seater Toyota Hummer bus (Donated by the Lagos State Government).
One (1) 18-Seater Hiace accidented bus at the police station along Ilesa – Ile -Ife expressway, Osun State.
The bus was recovered, refurbished and donated to Journalists International School, Journalists Estate Phase 1, Arepo at their request.
One Toyota Siena Car (Unserviceable).
The bus was taken to the mechanic for repairs on request of a sponsor but defaulted. The Exco. had directed the Assistant Secretary, Phillip Nwosu to help bring back the bus to the Secretariat.
Eight (8) new sets of HP Laptops.
These were donated by Lotgrant Plc. for the NUJ new training room through the personal efforts of Mr. Muyiwa Kalejaye. This was aimed at given the remodeled secretariat a befitting training room.
Other items includes;
a). One (1) new Brother printer
b). One (1) LaserJet 1020 printer.
c). One (1) Desktop computer with all accessories.
Other equipment are;
(a). One double decker refrigerator
(b). One old malfunctioning flat TV
(c). StarTimes decoder.
(d). One Hisence Microwave
Repayment PenJewel subscribers dollars amount. This was agreed by the subscribers with Exco. and the understanding of the council lawyer – Jiti Ogunye. Payments of Lagos State land Use Charge on NUJ properties for 2021.
Maintenance charges of N3,493,000.00 by Nodes Technologies as at September 30th, 2020 – The Facility Manager of NUJ light house Complex.
Payment of N650,000 outstanding bill to Civic Designs Engineering Plc for Pen jewel/ Abaren land estate deflooding project.
The prototype design for deflooding project is attached herewith. The deflooding project effectively affected the perimeter fencing.
The civil Engineers and PenJewel/Abaren land Committee agreed on Deflooding initiative project. The Committee’s report vide the committee’s chairman, Mr. Olisa Egbunike should give better insight.
N3.5 million Abarenland “Finder’s fee” for Mr. Suraju Salami. N1,000,00 was paid from the recommended fee by the Abarenland fact finding Committee. (payments were made from the Union bank’s Abarenland Account).
N1.6 million contractor’s fee for FAWAZ Construction company from the N2 million naira donated by Elizade Motors for the completion of one of the training rooms at the NUJ REMODELLING COMPLEX.
N40 Million Payment for NUJ REMODELLING COMPLEX on completion from donations from government, corporate bodies and individuals. Letters of assistance sent out to be followed up.
N176, 000 payment to Food Vendors at Radio Radios for the EndSARS Welfare.
N100,000 Auditors fee balance from lighthouse payment.
The Union embarked on contractual agreements with some companies during my tenure with congressional approvals and support of the NUJ lawyer Jitti Ogunye Chambers.
The remodeling of the NUJ Secretariat Project with Fawaz Construction Company. This is a Turnkey project which commenced in 2019. Copy of the contract attached.
The facility management of the NUJ Lighthouse Complex with Nodes Technologies for collection of rents, maintenance and gradual renovation of the building.
The NUJ light house Renovation
The renovation of the complex will be concluded with gladding of the entire building through a proposed bank facility. This proposal is yet to be approved by the Exco. and the Congress.
So far the union has incurred the sum of N3, 873,000.00 on renovation of the light house complex.
EXTRA ORDINARY ITEMS:
Recovery of NUJ Misappropriated Funds
Following the External Auditor’s report on the fund misappropriation and maladministration of NUJ light house by Epega & Co., the total sum of N83.7m fraud was reported with N27.7million was traced to Mr. Deji Elumoye and N56 million to Mr. Segun Opayemi of Epega & Co. Both of them agreed to pay back the misappropriated funds to the Council.
Mr. Deji Elumoye has paid back N2million into the union account while Mr. Segun Opayemi paid N5million through the NUJ lawyer bringing total recovery to date to N7million. Please note 10% commission due to the lawyer and the external auditor respectively. External Auditor’s report and Epega & Co repayment agreement attached for your information.
Consequently, the Congress approved the termination of Epega & Co. as NUJ light house estate manager.
Through this tough but high determination, the Council thus regained authority over her assets to access and possess every rent income due from the NUJ light house investment with new operating procedure directing all payment into the NUJ Lagos State council (Eco Bank) account accordingly. Payments due to contractors, vendors, agents etc, are equally made on the authority and approval of the Council.
The sum of N250,000 dividends from the NUJ light house revenue was paid to chapels at the rate N10,000 each.
PENJEWEL/ABAREN LAND ESTATE CRISIS
This was an inherited problem over mismanagement of Naira and dollar payment for the Project. A committee was set up by the subscribers headed by Mr. Olisa Egbunike. Subscribers agreed on payment of N10,000 reallocation fee and payment of outstanding debt for perimeter fence and topography levies during the previous administration.
So far 1,700 plots reallocated. The lists of remaining subscribers is available at the secretariat Streets sign posts are ready. 400 subscribers are yet to collect letters of allocation. This is being handled by Murtala Aleem of Tell Magazine.
Deflooding project design is also ready.
A Separate account at Union Bank plc at Secretariat road was opened for the reallocation funds from the PenJewel / Abaren land subscribers. Over N4m (four million naira) deposit is in the account.
PENJEWEL/ABAREN LAND ESTATE CRISIS Cont’d
In line with the NEC resolutions in the land crisis, EFCC investigation re – opened against Mr. Deji Elumoye, Thisday Newspapers and former Chairman NUJ Lagos State council, Mrs. Ify Omowole of NAN and former National President of NAWOJ Tosin Odusanya of Radio Lagos and former Treasurer of NAWOJ and Bimbo Oyetunde of Radio Nigeria Bronze FM Benin City. The case is being handled by the NUJ Lagos State council lawyer Jitti Ogunye Chambers.
The Access Bank plc account of the Pen jewel Abaren land project has been retrieved.
The union is owing Mr. Suraju Salami “omo onile” at Abaren village agreement finder’s fee. The union under my leadership has paid N1million naira. This is a liability from the immediate past administration. Please contact the Abaren land Committee for more details.
The NUJ FairPress magazine was revived though dogged and remarkable sacrifice of Mr. Olabisi Hameed, Sulaiman Ajayi and others who through their determination ensured two editions of the magazine are published. Their rigorous campaign yielded fruitful expectation from NIMASA, Dangote and Lagos State Government.
Mr. Olabisi Hameed is currently pursuing advert proceeds from Dangote Group, while David Adekunle is pursuing that of NIMASA. Their efforts should be rewarded with congressional approval of 20% commission on revenue generated for the Council.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The three signatories to the accounts of the union- The Chairman , Secretary and Treasurer received transaction alerts from the NUJ Lagos State council account.
A voucher system was installed for payment of funds. This authorized, Checked and approved by the Secretary, the Treasurer and the Chairman respectively.
The three years Audited Account done by External auditor, was presented at the last Congress and approved.
Presentation of Monthly Financial Account statement introduced but later shifted to quarterly presentation as directed by the Vice President B zone.
Contracts were advertised on NUJ Lagos State council platforms for bidding. Contractors obtained N25,000 form and were later interviewed by Exco members. Contract awards were approved at the Congress with the guidance of NUJ lawyer Jiti Ogunye Chambers.
Extra-ordinary Audit exercise should be carried out on the Union assets and investments by external auditor from time to time.
DEFENCE OF PRESS FREEDOM
The union defended the interests of members and press freedom regularly. Specifically, members that were unlawfully assaulted, arrested or detained were released through the interventions of the union.
The NUJ Lagos State council Chairman on different occasions had to be on major radio and television networks to defend media Rights and press freedom.
The reported cases of assaults include those of Yomi Olomofe, who was allegedly assaulted by the Nigeria Customs Service Officials and Mr. Benedict Uwalaka who was allegedly beaten up while on duty by private Ambulance service officials at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH currently in court are being financed by the council.
This was given adequate attention in the last three years. More than 200 members went for training within and outside the country. Names of beneficiaries are in relevant file.
There were training collaborations with the International Press Institute IPC, Institute for Media and Society – IMS, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) among others.
Other training collaborations were done with Freidcht Foundation, UNESCO, UNIDO, The Human Rights Foundation, International Center for Data Journalism, and the Nigerian Press Council
THE UNION INTERGRITY AND IMAGE IMPROVEMENT
The revival of the union’s integrity was the foremost priority of my Administration. This was achieved in a record time. This results in Lagos State Government supporting the Council with N25 million donation for the remodeling of our Secretariat at 9A Iyalla Street, Ikeja.
Various organizations including Nestle Plc. signed on a media award for the Union under the auspices of Nestle/NUJ- DAME Nutrition and Well-being Annual Media Award
WELFARE/ RESPONSES TO DISTRESSED REQUESTS
Under this scheme, funds were released for Health care services, Surgery, Drugs, Academic pursuits, Graduations, Marriages, Obituaries and other social activities by members.
During Covid-19 and EndSARS protests, foods were provided for some members across chapels.
Currently, meals are provided for members during State Congress with Buffet service arrangement.
The Union under my leadership has invested N1 million in Treasury bill.
The NUJ Lagos State council has a new website and Journalists student’s portal to grow the next Generation of Journalists. The website name is www.lagosnuj.org
Five workers are currently employed by the Union. They are, a driver. Three security men and a cleaner. The council Administrative secretary recently resigned.
Thank you, wishing you all best.
Dr. Qasim Akinreti, is the out-going Chairman, NUJ Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists from September 29, 2017- November 26, 2020.