What started like a joke,yesterday took a different dimension when a close source to Barr Vivian Ottih,called one of our reporters to inform him that her friend,Ottih was yesterday issued indefinite suspension letter over her recent request for payment of three months salary arrears.
In a letter titled,”Indefinite Suspension” which was signed by one Mrs Osuchukwu S.O(Mrs) as acting Director general of Imo Broadcasting Corporation(IBC),dated 14th May,2020 stated that the director general has been directed to communicate the labour leader, Ottih of her indefinite suspension.The letter which also stated that the suspension is with immidiate effect said that the decision of the state owned establishment is based on the fact that the management is not convinced with Ottih’s response as she did not show any remorse.
Ottih who is the Chairman of the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Imo State Chapter and a staff of Imo State Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) had in her reply to the query issued her while she is still nursing her new born baby, denied granting any press conference to journalists and wondered why anyone should misinterprete her patriotic gesture aimed at causing Imo State government to pay IBC staff their three months arrears of salary as a confrontation.
Speaking with our reporter earlier, Ottih averred that she is surprised that people could make a mountain out of a mole over Save Our Soul (SOS) request she made.
According to Ottih, “as a labour leader, my worry is that most of our members are dying of hunger over the refusal of government to pay the workers, hence, I made a harmless request” through an aide of the Governor. More worrisome is the fact that IBC workers have no other jobs and only depend on their salary to feed and following the lockdown, within period they continued to attend to work as essential duty staff, it is wrong for them to be owed three months salary without a sort or form of palliative measure adduced or offered by government.
“Everyone knows that with the outbreak of covid-19 and the lockdown, our people were even barred from going out let alone engaging in any other assignment to make a living”, Ottih reiterated.
Recall that Vivian Ottih had in May 4,2020 taken to her facebook page where she made passionate appeal to gthe government over the piteous plights of her colleagues by drawing the attention of some confidants of hers who are appointees of the Imo government, pleading with them to pay IBC workers before they die of hunger. As revealed, shortly after the appeal, the Management of IBC gave her a query with an ultimatum that she should respond to it within 24 hours.
Meanwhile,they have been mixed reaction trailing the decision of the management as many are of the view that it is show of another draconian style of leadership that tends to muscle free speech.
One of the Owerri based lawyers,Barr Emperor Iwuala has this to say,”Thank God I am a firm supporter of Senator Uzodinma Government. However, I condemn whoever that directed the management of IBC to issue query to an IBC staff for speaking out on non-payment of salaries of IBC staff. That is impunity being taken to the highest level. I know the governor. This may not be his style but some people working for him if not cautioned, may cause him some harm. In this era of clamour for higher level of freedom of speech should somebody be cowed for his honest statement. The Commissioner for Information should know the political realities on ground and thread with caution. Sometimes, I have observed some draconic tendencies from some of his actions which are not good for an information manage”.