Wednesday, June 18, 2014 2:57 pm
Abuja – The Management of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) has debunked the rumour that it has shut down its foreign office in New York.
This is contained in a statement signed by the acting Editor-In-Chief of the agency, Malam Lawal Ado, on Wednesday in Abuja.
“The purported closure of NAN office at the United Nations in New York comes to Management of NAN as strange.
“NAN has not received any official communication on this from the United Nations Information Centre, neither has the Nigerian Permanent Mission to the U.S. been so informed.
“The management of NAN, long before the new Managing Director, Ima Niboro, assumed office, had pegged the tenure on foreign service for its staff at two years.
“Last February, as the Managing Director was assuming office, the staff at the New York office was returning on completion of his tour of duty.
“Indeed, the first executive approval given by the managing director, on assumption of duty, was the approval of the nomination of a replacement for the New York office.
‘’NAN has not closed its operations in New York.
‘’Indeed, NAN is instead, in the process of expanding its operations in strategic countries beyond its present locations,’’ the statement said.
It said that the agency also owned and maintained an official property within New York different from the office space made available to it by the United Nations.
“The suggestion in the report that an audit report highlighted “problems with financial controls” may be correct since there is a financial audit report covering 2012 and 2013 operations at NAN, but they refer to the years pre dating the present management.
“The report, however, created imaginary staff “being owed several months in salaries.
“NAN staff, like all other Federal Government personnel, receive their salaries as and when due from the consolidated, service wide salaries vote,’’ it said.
The statement said that the agency did not pay its own staff, adding none of its staff had any reason to complain of unpaid salaries.
“It is important to state that on assumption of duty, the present management identified salient areas of reform in process and structure.
“We have created three new directorates, Foreign Operations, Lagos Operations and Research and Planning, to further enhance our operational capabilities.
“We have also, in compliance to the statutes on public procurement and transparency, established an independent Procurement Unit, something that never existed in NAN before now.
“We have initiated a number of other forward looking programmes to revamp the agency that had been nearly stymied in its aspirations and growth.
“We are retooling NAN with appropriate IT infrastructure base.
“We have also developed a new website which will be unveiled in a matter of hours,” it said.
The statement also said that the agency had retooled its SMS Platform to broaden its subscriber base, adding that it is already working with the National Communications Commission to achieve the objective.
“We have also embarked on wide ranging stakeholder engagement to ensure that critical funding windows are opened to the agency for the work at hand.
“There is work to be done at NAN, and its new management has its sleeves rolled up for the challenges ahead,” it added.