Posted by News Express | 9 May 2015 | 3,543 times
The peaceful industrial action embarked upon by the staff union of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) under the auspices of Trade Union Congress (TUC) last two weeks has degenerated into the militarisation of the headquarters complex of the organisation in Abuja.
The staff penultimate week locked the Headquarters of the Commission located at Maitama, Abuja for three days to protest the alleged “incompetence, high-handedness, fraudulent practices, intimidation and lack of capacity by the Executive Secretary, Ms. Saratu Umar, to provide good leadership for the Commission.”
A source at the NIPC Headquarters lamented to News Express: “Since the peaceful protest by staff which was called off on the intervention of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, and the setting up of Presidential Administrative Investigative Committee set up by the Government to look into the crisis, the Executive Secretary, Ms. Saratu Umar, has engaged several fully armed policemen that roam the commission’s head office, intimidating staff.
This has created a lot of apprehension amongst staff and visitors to the Commission including investors. The police, who are about ten in number, look fierce and battle-ready to engage staff.”
In order to unravel the crisis bedevilling the commission, the Federal Government set up an Investigative Committee headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and was given five days to submit their findings.
The committee was said to have concluded its assignment on Monday last week and was expected to submit their reports to President Goodluck Jonathan through the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga.
While still awaiting the outcome of the Presidential Committee reports, the Executive Secretary over the weekend wanted to arm-twist the Directors whom she had accused severally on an alleged Audit report she claimed indicted them, called them for a fathom Management meeting which has not been held for several months in the Commission.
In what appeared to be a rushed attempt to approve over 20 memos/documents which had been pending for several months was a last-ditch effort by the Executive Secretary to cover up her failure to treat files and other official documents.
However, four out of the five directors available in the commission objected to holding the meeting on the following grounds:
1. There was crisis and palpable tension in the Commission stemming from the recent action by staff and the Presidential panel set up to investigate the allegations against the Executive Secretary was yet to conclude its assignment
2. The Secretary had during the protest by staff gone to press to state that the Directors were indicted, corrupt and incompetent. There was therefore no moral justification for them to sit and take decisions with her on issues; which were already being considered by the Presidential panel.
3. Overtime, both staff of the commission and superior officers and the parent ministry had blamed the Directors for tolerating the excesses of the Executive Secretary for so long.
Our investigation has indicated that all is still not well in the Commission as the directors were reported as having advised the Executive Secretary to postpone the Management meeting that was haphazardly put together based on the prevailing atmosphere of the crisis in the Commission, that resulted in a stalemate which led to the postponement of the meeting for lack of quorum as the majority of the directors accepted her advice to excuse themselves from the meeting
•Photo shows Saratu Umar.
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