A civil society organization, Equity and Transparency Development Initiative (ETDI) has questioned the rationale behind plans by the management of Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading PLC(NBET) to recall some disengaged staff of the agency who were sacked or disciplined for various offences bothering on theft, leaking of official documents, certificate forgery, assault on fellow staff etc, by the immediate past Managing Director, Marilyn Amobi.
In a statement by its national coordinator, Ijewa Zeb Obioma, and made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday, the group accused the current Managing Director and CEO of NBET, Nnaemeka organization queried NBET boss, the board of plans to recall sacked workers.
According to the organization’s coordinator, Ijewa Zeb Obioma, the files of about six former staff of NBET who were laid-off for various impunity actions are currently receiving reviews with the intention of recalling them or paying some of them their full retirement benefits by the present administration led by Nnaemeka Ewelukwa, who, the organization alleged, was incidentally, part of the management staff that decided on their fates when they committed various official infractions in the agency that warranted their sack by the former MD of the agency.
“We are worried about what is happening at NBET since the departure of Dr Amobi, who, under her administration, brought in discipline and decorum in the management of the agency. It’s on record that she was pivotal to many innovations in the agency that saw it ranked as one of the most transparent and innovative agencies of the federal government, but unfortunately, since the assumption of office by this present management, we are witnessing situations where those innovations are being truncated as decorum and transparency are being eroded on daily basis, as they are being replaced by nepotism and glaring infractions are now noticed in ways things are being run in the agency.
“Our questions to Dr Ewulukwa and the entire board members are these: why should the following disengaged staff members who were sacked because of various disciplinary infractions, now being considered for either a recall or an outright payment of their retirement benefits?
“The first person is Mr Sambo Abdullahi, whom a panel was set up to look into various allegations against him, from leaking of official documents to the press with the intention to maliciously undermine the agency administration, to present himself in live radio programmes, where he divulged many official secrets, acts that contravene the civil service rules, including countless press releases he signed and issued to press; an act that ran contrarily to his official duties in the agency.
The same goes to one Waziri Bintube, who refused his deployment by the formal MD and absconded from his official duties without leave or without approval from the management.
“Another sacked staff who is being considered for recall now by this Nnaemeka led management is Fatima Habib, who allegedly assaulted a staff of the agency. The incident, we are aware, was investigated, and she was found to have committed the offence, as such, the full disciplinary measures were taken against her. But unfortunately, today, she is amongst those who are being favoured for a recall by the current Managing Director.
“We also have a case of one Bassey Oyo, who entered the agency with forged credentials, and was fished out by Dr Amobi, through a diligent investigation. His case was referred to the DSS, after which they came back with a verdict that he truly forged his educational credentials. This prompted for his dismissal in the agency, but today, unfortunately though, his is on the list of those who may be making their ways back to the organization. In his own case, we have it on good authority that he has been asked to formally resign his appointment so that he will get his full benefits.
“Not stopping there, there are plans to as well convert the sacking of one Jude Fegbada and Tosin Omidiji, who were individually sacked for fraudulent activities, to resignations, with their full benefits paid,” the statement added.
The CSO group wondered how the board of NBET will stand by when all these impunities are happening in the agency.
According to the statement, “With the calibre of people who constitute the board of NBET, there is no way they will watch what is happening and they will not call the CEO to order, as we know their integrity is at stake. They cannot allow this level of official impunity to take place, because it has not been heard or seen before in a corporate agency like NBET, where some people who committed all sorts of atrocities in an office and were thoroughly disciplined, will be recalled or at least made to receive all their benefits, by the same man who was part of that disciplinary measures in the first place.
“Let the world know that the present Managing Director was the General Manager, General Counsel, Legal, at NBET before he was made the MD/CEO of the agency a few months ago. As a GM, therefore, he was part of the top management staff, who vetted all decisions of the agency before they were implemented.
“While will call on the board to step in and call Ewelukwa to order, but we shall not hesitate, however, to head to court if he goes ahead to recall the people we have mentioned. This also applies to those they want to pay their full benefits, for committing all sorts of impunities in the office.”
However, a reliable source at the agency who does not want his name mentioned, denied that there was infraction or impunity going on the part of the management as led by Ewelukwa of NBET, as it is their prerogative to make decisions that are amicable to the smooth running of the agency, including recalling staff, on compassionate grounds.
The source, who said he was not entitled to speak to the press on behalf of the agency, however, said that he was in-know of what happens on the management level. He said he volunteered to speak because the agency, as of today, had no official spokesperson.
He said that the so-called accusations against the management were an attempt by the civil society organization to discredit the agency and its management team, adding that agency, as led by Ewelukwa, is doing everything possible to reposition NBET from the rot left behind by the immediate past administration.