Board members of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) have denied endorsing a letter by their Governing Board Chairman, Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja, to sack the Director-General of the Commission, Mr. John O. Asein.
Jaja, in a letter dated 22nd September 2020, had requested that President Muhammadu Buhari, should suspend Asien, over alleged infractions.
But the board members, in a memo sighted by PRNigeria to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice said they find the action of their Chairman embarrassing and in bad taste.
In the memo signed by Mrs. Maria Towo Austin-Odigie, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Justice on the board, and four others representing other sectors, said no resolution to that effect was passed by the Board, neither was the correspondence authorized or otherwise endorsed by the majority of them.
According to them, Mr. Jaja, in recent times, have orchestrated phantom allegations and petitions against the NCC Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
They said they have come to understand that the allegations are borne out of personal vendetta, undue interference in the day-to-day operations of the Commission by Chairman, as well as some unethical acts of the Chairman, in respect of allegations of plagiarism against him by the NCC Director-General.
“By stating that three out of four members of the Board has recommended the Director General’s suspension, the Chairman is being economical with the truth, giving his Excellency the impression that a majority of members of the Governing Board of the Commission had taken the decision to suspend the Director General of the Commission. This is barefaced falsehood,” they added.
While maintaining that no allegations of misconduct against Asien is before their Governing Board, the members said rather than focus on his primary function of steering the Board to help management deliver on the statutory mandate of the Commission, Dr. Jaja has devoted much of his energy to persecuting the DG since his application to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), asking to be converted to a full-time Chairman was turned down.
“It has come to the attention of members of the Board that the Chairman, in his vindictive quest and desperation to displace the Director General, had been instigating Chief Executives of collective management organisations, under the regulatory purview of the Commission to bring up false accusations against the Director General. We are aware that this plot was roundly rebuffed by some of these Chief Executives,” they noted.
According to them, the unilateral and self-serving activities of Jaja, if not promptly checked, are capable of undermining the efficient running of the Commission to the detriment of the creative sector of Nigeria’s economy.
“Kindly bring to the attention of His Excellency, the President and Commander-in-Chief that the recommendation contained in the letter of 22nd September 2020, from the Chairman, Dr. Tonye Clinton Jaja addressed to his Excellency is baseless and does not represent the position of the majority of members of the Governing Board of NCC. Hence, it should be discountenanced by His Excellency,” they urged the Minister.