Rights group defends copyrights head from allegations

Afam EzekudeFrom OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria

LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) has defended Director General of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Afam Ezekude, from allegations of unfair labour policies.

National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, jointly, said the allegations made by some unionswere “wild”, “unsubstantiated”, “spurious” and “dangerous.”HURIWA alleged the reason Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN) vilified Ezekude because he insisted and maintained that proper process be followed in the formation of union within the NCC.

It is said he insisted that in accordance with the law relating tounionizing a government agency, the ASCSN must provide the NCC withindividually written and signed expression of interest to belong to theassociation by interested members of staff of the commission.

The rights group added that union leaders within the Senior Civil serviceof the Federal Agency did not comply to the due process of the law bycovertly nominating a few persons to head a union that had not beenintroduced to NCC.

“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 is the highestbinding laws of Nigeria. Any law, which is inconsistent with itsprovisions, are to the extent of the inconsistency null and void (section1(3) of the constitution).”Consequently, any provision of a labour law which is in conflict with theconstitution is invalid. Section 40 guarantees the right of every personto form or belong to any trade union or any other association for theprotection of his interest,” HURIWA stated.

HURIWA added that contrary to the misinformation by ASCSN, the Commissionwas represented at some meetings called by the Ministry of Labour but hadever insisted that procedure be followed.“To the best of our knowledge based on empirical evidence made available to us, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) is not against unionmembership, but insists that due process must be followed.

In fact, theNCC has taken steps to invite two other unions, sequel to their request,to make presentations/ properly brief the staff of the Commission, so thatstaff members can decide which union they want to join.”Unions had called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Ezekude for thealleged “enslavement of workers.”

– CAJ News

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