The attention of the editorial team of Fresh Insight has been drawn to a statement by the Corporate Affairs Unit of Harmony Holdings Limited, one of the agencies of the Kwara state government, dated December 13, 2022, reacting to a story published by our medium earlier today, concerning redeployment of staff members of Kwara Hotels.
According to the statement released by Medaiyefe Emmanuel Temitope
Ag. Editor, Fresh Insight “While we would ordinarily ignore the usual tactics of attempting to hide obvious truth from people who have every right to know, which is characteristic of the ruling government of Kwara state and its cronies, we deem it expedient to set the record straight and neutralize the negative branding Harmony Holding and the government it speaks for struggle so hard to create for Fresh Insight, albeit in futility.
For the sake of emphasis, we stand by our positions, which was a product of thoroughly investigated journalistic research, that
1. Few days after Fresh Insight published an earlier report on the failure of Kwara state government to redeploy Kwara Hotel staff to Business, Innovation and Technology (BIT) Ministry, including nonpayment of their 3months salaries, the government reacted by directing the staff to report to the state’s traffic management agency.
2. The Kwara state government reneged on its widely publicized promise to redeploy Kwara Hotel staff members to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology (BIT). Instead, they were directed to report at Kwara state Traffic Management Authority (KWARTMA).
3. The AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led Kwara state government has perfected plans to technically sack no fewer than five (5) staff of Kwara Hotel who are above age 50, as our investigation revealed that they would be excluded from the redeployment to KWARTMA because they are above recruitment age. The Harmony Holding have also tacitly alluded to this by stating emphatically, that “it is instructive to state that entry into the Kwara State Civil Service is guided by its rules and conditions which include but not limited to minimum eligibility requirements such as educational qualification and age.” This is nothing but technically retrenching Kwara hotel staff above entry age into Kwara state civil service (50years), even when they are not applying for fresh jobs with the State government.
4. Affected staff of the hotel who preferred to be anonymous for obvious fear of threat and intimidation expressed their displeasure to our reporter and same was reported, accordingly.
5. Our reporter was at the KWARTMA office to confirm the development and be double sure of information at our disposal, before publishing.
6. That attempts to reach the Hon. Commissioner for BIT, Ibrahim Akaje was futile at press time. However, our reporter visited his office and waited for hours to get his reaction but to no avail.
We wish to state that rather than name calling to cover up the failed promises on the part of the government, the Management of Harmony Holding Limited should rather take FI up on basic facts of the report, which includes clear positions on posting of the staff and implication of the conditions of redeployment on affected staff.
The Kwara state government and the management of Harmony Holdings Limited, rather than attempting to dribble the general public, to emphatically own up to the fact that Kwara state government failed in its promise to redeploy Kwara hotels staff to BIT Ministry.
Although, the Harmony Holding Limited claimed “The process is being jointly undertaken by the Office of the Head of Service, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology, and Harmony Holdings Limited, which are looking at educational qualifications, age and other criterias to suitably migrate the staff into the civil service”, we challenge the organization to speak on the involvement of the Ministry of Works, under whose purview KWARTMA falls.
We also humbly challenge the Harmony Holdings Limited to furnish the general public with the educational qualifications of staff of Kwara Hotels, which makes them more suitable for traffic control much more than working in a government ministry as ‘Business, Innovation and Technology’.
For the umpteenth, the government and its handlers should have realized no amount of intimidation, blackmail, name-calling, attacks etc will derail the Fresh Insight team from serving its constitutionally guaranteed role of being the societal watchdog and especially in the defense of press freedom and right of the public to be properly informed.