Mr John Idumange, the General Manager, Radio Bayelsa “Glory FM”, on Friday confirmed that he flogged four union leaders of the station in self-defence.
Idumange told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Yenagoa that the incident happened on Monday after the unions shut down the FM station operated by the state government.
The Radio Bayelsa Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) had alleged that Idumange was running the station outside public service rules.
Idumange, who explained the details of the incident to NAN, alleged that the unions in the station were working against his reforms aimed at repositioning the broadcast outfit.
“At about 7.20 p.m on Monday, the day RATTAWU and NUJ embarked on strike, I heard voices near my window.
“So I went out to see what was happening. I saw four persons, one of them a lady.
“I could recognise Tonye Yemoleigha, one of the union leaders, who was on white shirt. I asked why they were there after chasing away all the workers,” he said.
According to him, “Tonye stood up and asked if the compound belonged to me. At that point I discovered he was ready for a fight but I did not bulge.
“He brought his hands near my eyes so I blocked it. I had learnt Karate years back. One of them threw a chair at me and they all rushed to fight me. I had to fight back in self-defence.
“They could have beaten me up but my Karate skills rescued me,” he said.
Idumange, who was appointed on Dec. 6, 2016, claimed that he recently uncovered a N5.7 million fraud and redeployed some staff.
“The transferred workers have been meeting with them at NUJ Centre, they benefitted from the corruption and are fighting back,” Idumange said.
Reacting, Mr Tonye Yemoleigha, the NUJ Chairman in Radio Bayelsa, said that the unions had reported the incident at Ekeki Police Division.
“Four of us, myself and three staff were flogged by Idumange himself. The report that it was thugs is inaccurate. It was the general manager himself that attacked and beat us up.