The leadership of Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers’ Union of Nigeria (RATTAWU), National Theatre chapter has dissociated itself from allegation of illegal sales of property belonging to the agency and allegations mismanagement levelled against a top management staff.
WESTERNPOST had reported that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had warned against giving out any portion of the national heritage to individuals.
It also reported that workers of the parastatal accused a top management staff of selling its property and leased out a portion of land.
Dismissing the allegations as untrue, Chairman of the chapter, Comrade Austin Agada, in a chat with WESTERNPOST, said the management sought the approval of the board before an auctioneer was contracted to sell the items.
According to Agada, Prof Sunday Ododo’s led management team only sold obsolete items and staff were carried along throughout the period it lasted.
He said: “The General Manager followed the due process by auctioning the obsolete items of the parastatal. He sought the approval of the board before given out the land on lease just like he did before contracting an auctioneer to sell the items.
“Although, I was away in Calabar during the sales, staff were carried along before an auctioneer was brought in for the clearance sales.
“Beyond this, the National Theatre is a rumour mill that when someone say good morning, you should try and confirm before responding.
“They put things in different perspective with the sole aim of confusing the general public. We had a meeting with the General Manager on the condition of service for staff and the issue of the reports that alleged sales of property was raised.
“The GM asked if I am aware of it and I said no. He thereafter asked me to debunk it. We are not happy about the report because it was done without our consent. It has credited a lot of discord and distrust among staff.
“It was also alleged that I collected bribe from the GM to launder his image. I didn’t collect a dime. I don’t know if AUPCTRE-The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees was given a bribe but for us in RATTAWU, we didn’t collect a dime from the General Manager.”
While reacting to the development, a worker who did not want his name mentioned, said that since the report of his misconduct was published, Prof Ododo has been unsettled shuttling between Lagos and Abuja seeking respite from the Minister of Information and Culture.
He said: “The General Manager called an emergency meeting of the excos instructing them to debunk the report and cover the truth which, of course, has been made public. Our unions, RATTAWU and AUPCTRE have been compromised because Prof Ododo has bought them over.
“The GM even brags that he will ‘bribe’ the Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to settle the issue which was why he was in Abuja on Thursday not knowing that the Minister has left for Lagos.
“What we know of Alhaji Lai is that he is a man of conscience and truth. The Minister stands for truth and justice and we know that the truth shall prevail in this matter.
“We are appealing to the Minister to strongly pay attention to happenings at the national Theatre and address the injustice and corruption being perpetrated by the management.”