By: Our correspondents
Fresh facts have emerged on the stoppage of a Muslim Staff of the Lagos State Television (LTV), Mrs. Tinuke Oloruntoyin-Folami, from casting news because she refused to stop using her hijab.
Staff of the Lagos State Ministry of Information and Strategy who spoke to our correspondent exonerated the General Manager of LTV, Deji Balogun and the station’s Director of news, Siju from Oloruntoyin-Folami’s alleged victimisation.
The staff, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the ethics of the civil service does not permit them to speak on such matter, said the management of LTV was only acting the script of the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde.
Investigation by the iWitness NG showed that three of the five staff stopped from casting news by the management of Lagos State Television (LTV), have been returned.
Those affected are Busola Kukoyi, Yetunde Amoo, Sola Kosoko, Bimbo Oloko and Tinuke Oloruntoyin-Folami.
While the fourth person has been moved to the Governor’s office, Mrs. Tinuke Oloruntoyin-Folami that was stopped because of her use of hijab has not been reinstated to cast news.
However, iWitness NG has facts showing that some of the other staff that were affected have been returned.
From our close monitoring of the station, we can authoritatively report that three of them cast news within this week.
Busola Kukoyi cast LTV’s 12 O’clock and 4pm news on Thursday, January 19, 2017.
Yetunde Amoo cast LTV’s 12 O’clock and 4pm news on Wednesday, January 18, 2017.
Sola Kosoko read LTV’s Business news on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.
Bimbo Oloko did not returned because she was moved to the governor’s office. Thus, there is no way she would cast news.
Further investigation by our correspondents revealed that the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, gave the order that some newscasters should be dropped.
Sources within the state’s Ministry of Information and Strategy confided in our correspondent that the only justification given for the removal of Oloruntoyin-Folami was because she uses the hijab.
One of them said, “It is true that Commissioner asked them to remove the list of newscasters in the station and that is because they had about 15 news casters.
“They were told to reduce them to 10 and Alhaja’s name was excluded. When some of us saw it too, we were surprised because we feel she is one of the best newscasters there. When we asked, they said ‘she refused to drop her hijab’.”
Another source in the ministry said Oloruntoyin-Folami is a civil servant that could be affected by any restructuring.
The source, however, said that it is condemnable that she was affected because of her faith.
Attempt to reach the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde proved abortive as calls put across to his phone number weren’t going through.
But one of our correspondents was told that the position of the Commissioner was that neither Lagos State Government nor LTV was obliged to give reasons for stoping Oloruntoyin-Folami.
“When I heard him speak about it, he (Commissioner) is not comfortable with the fact that only Alhaja’s case generated issues. He feels that she is being paid by the government and can be removed or replaced at any time. He said LTV is not obliged to give reasons,” a source added.
Qamardeen Ajala, MURIC differ on protest
Meanwhile, A popular cleric in Lagos State, Amir Qamardeen Ajala, has called on Muslims and Islamic organisations to mobilise in mass against LTV.
He said this in a post obtained by one of our correspondents on his facebook wall.
The post read, “Calling on all these organisations. Supreme Council for Islamic Organisations (SCIA), Council of Islamic Organisations (CIO), FOMWAN, NACOMYO MPAC, MULAN, to let’s unite and demand for reinstatement of Hajia Folami to her post as newscaster. Unless we are told of her crime. Is she no more competent, is she found wanting in her responsibilities, is she insubordinate to her boss? LTV must provide answers for these. Majority of Lagosians both Indigenes and residents are Muslims.
“If need be, let all sincere and committed Muslims meet on Monday morning at LTV gate Ikeja. We feel she is being victimised because of her Hijab, unless the authority comes out and tell us her offences.
“Please for ALLAH sake share and tell others to share. She is only sister that used Hijab on television set at LTV.”
In another press release, President of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, appealed to Muslims to give room for dialogue.
He explained that it was ‘too hasty’ to embark on demonstration.
He said, “The MURIC is appealing to Lagos Muslims to tow the path of dialogue on the issue of Sister Folami, the hijabite newscaster in LTV.
“We should investigate first. This is what the Qur’an instructs us to do (49:6).
“We heard that the sister was not the only newscaster withdrawn. I think we should investigate first before going on demonstration.
“We heard that a demonstration is being planned to take place on Monday 23/1/17. It is too hasty.”
Other Islamic scholars have also urged the LTV management and Lagos State Government to reinstate Oloruntoyin-Folami as a newscaster.