The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has called for the immediate probe of Afam Ezekude, the director-general of the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), over alleged maladministration and misappropriation of funds totalling N406 million.
The association, which is an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of Nigeria, is asking for Ezekude’s sack and prosecution for allegedly embezzling N100 million meant for staff training and refusing to prosecute a prime suspect, one Tony Onwujekwe, who is popularly known as “Alaba King of Pirates”.
The workers alleged that Ezekude embezzled funds meant for staff staff that was “never conducted”.
According to the petition against Ezekude, a copy of which was obtained by our reporter, the senior civil servants want the DG to be investigated for misappropriating N170million in 2012 and embezzling N120million meant for copyright administration and enforcement.
The petition, jointly signed by chairman, NCC unit of ASCSN, Moses Ihuma, and secretary, Kunle Olatunji, accused Ezekude of illegal withdrawal of N16 million from staff pension fund in 2013, and irregular appointments and promotions of his cronies in the commission.
He was also accused of issuing contracts to non-existing companies including Samorite Nigeria Limited and Brass Dot Universal Resources Limited, as well as issuing contracts without inputs from the procurement unit, which according to them, has been rendered impotent in violation of the public procurement act.
The petition read in part: “Violation of Section 39 of the Copyright Act by the approval of Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN) without due process which created serious confusion in the Nigerian music industry.
“Withdrawal of seven criminal cases against MCSN at the Federal High Court thereby making nonsense of the copyright law and creative industry; collection of gratification from stakeholders; poor welfare scheme resulting in the death of 15 innocent staff of the commission; lack of payment of allowances owed staff since 2011; lack of working tools and illegal removal of DG’s tenure with the DG having two distinct letters of removal from two different government agencies.”
Based on this, the senior staff said “the entire staff of the Commission has totally lost confidence in the leadership of Mr Afam Ezekude who has reduced the Nigerian Copyright Commission which is an enforcement agency set up to protect and promote the Nigerian Creative Industry to an agency for private looting of funds. He has further rendered the Commission comatose”.
Meanwhile, the workers of the Ccommission have also embarked on a week-long lockout industrial action commencing from Monday, March 12, to demand Ezekude’s immediate removal.
The workers displayed placards with various inscriptions such as “Sack Ezekude now or kill creative industry”; “Ezekude embezzles over N100 million meant for staff training”, among others.
When contacted by TheCable for comments, Ijeoma Egbunike, head of public affairs department of NCC, said she was yet to get clearance to speak on the matter.
She, however, promised to do so once the approval is granted.
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