By Grace Alegba
The National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Chris Isiguzo, on Monday in Lagos called for legal termination of a stalled housing project for journalists in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ)/NUJ in 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build 800 housing units for journalists at Abaren Village in Obafemi Owode Local Government, Ogun.
However, the agreement incorporated the NUJ which mapped out a portion of land sold to its members for the estate to be constructed by Primewaterview Ltd (PWV).
Isiguzo during a stakeholders meeting with subscribers, developer and members of NUJ and NAWOJ, said that the project was marred by irregularities as all parties in the project erred.
The NUJ president after about four hours deliberation ruled that the project from inception was not properly planned.
“Accordingly, we want to call on all the parties involved in this illegal transaction to quickly terminate the Memorandum of Understanding they signed.
“As earlier directed by NEC, the amount paid out should be returned to the union and given back to their original owners, the subscribers.
“The NUJ Lagos State Council and the leadership of NAWOJ should quickly liaise with the developer and retrieve the said amount.
“Clearly, monies paid for jobs not executed,” he said.
The president, however, added that NEC was going to decide on measures to be taken against NUJ and NAWOJ executive members, insisting that termination of the agreement should be effected within a month.
“We are asking the parties to do the needful before the end of the month,” he said.
Earlier, the NUJ president advised the managing Director of PWV, who simply identified himself as Deacon Alabi to work out modalities for refund of N73 million.
The president said that right from beginning, the agreement was breached and Primewater View was culpable.
Deacon Alabi had explained that the project was stalled by lack of funding.
While taking questions from stakeholders, Alabi said that the firm had completed various large projects projects in Lagos and had the expertise to have completed the project.
He said that the roads leading to the site of the housing estate was waterlogged and part of the funds was used to stabilise the road to gain access to the site, which was three kilometers away.
“The arrangement we had was that they (NAWOJ/NUJ) had a lot of members and would pay, that is why we went to site to begin construction.
Also, Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole, NAWOJ President, while making her presentation explained that there were some hitches because state officials of the NAWOJ flouted her order to ensure subscribers paid directly to the bank.
She said that the then NAWOJ Lagos Chairperson, Mrs Dupe Olaoye-Osinkolu, collected dollars in cash and about 26,000 dollars became problematic as banks rejected same.
“The money was collected in cash against my advice,” she said.
Omowole also lamented various infractions by state officers of NAWOJ that caused some problems and delays to the project.