*appeal to President Buhari to intervene
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The joint union of the Nigerian Institute For Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), Kaduna on Wednesday September 14, 2022 shut gates of the institute to commence a seven-day warning strike against the reinstatement of embattled Director General, Dr. Felicia Chizoba Enwezor, whom they said is pulling the institute from fulfilling its mandate.
As early as 8:30am, workers of the institute in large numbers, converged on the main entrance, awaiting return of their joint chairman, Comrade Mohijo Hussaini, who it was learnt, dashed off to security formations to formally present their petitions.
While awaiting the joint chairman’s return, they peacefully stood in front of the premises, carrying placards with several inscriptions.
On his return at about 9:45am, the gates were placed under lock and keys by the workers, signalling the commencement of the seven-day warning strike.
When confronted by newsmen to get a picture of what was happening at the institute, NITR Joint Chairman, Comrade Mohijo Hussaini said that staff are disappointed by the minister’s sensitivity to their plight.
“We have written to the Police, DSS and NSCDC. As we speak today, this woman has been imposed on us as DG.
“She was defiant on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s order. We are here on a peaceful mission to embark on a 7-day warning strike. If action is not taken by supervising ministry, we will embark on full scale strike,” he said.
According to him, DG of the institute, bent on retaining her position, has written to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), to seek police protection.
“She has also wrote a letter seeking to operate as DG from any of NITR’s offices located in Suleja or Abuja, which we got wind of.
“Dr. Felicia Chizoba Enwezor is not needed in NITR, we are here to protest and embark on 7-day warning strike,” he said.
According to the joint chairman, part of the grouse the workers have with her is that she is not committed to ensuring the institute serves its mandate as a research outfit.
“She recalled over 100 staff on training without due process, violations of procurement processes.
“Her actions are prejudicial to the threat of the Security of State as the Institute was shut down for three (3) days in April, 2022 by Staff against her bad leadership.
“Refusal to take lawful orders and directives from the constituted Authorities.
“Leaving her official duty on several occasions without delegating overseeing capacity to the next director of Research in the Institute contrary to Public Service Rules (PSR) 030402.
“Failure to respect and implement Court Order Suit No: NICN/ABJ/297/2021.
“Refusal to convene Board Meetings despite Council’s instructions,” he listed her sins.
According to him, ” we started with three days protest, the next line is 7-day working strike, if no action is taken, we will shut down NITR until our demands are met.
“She is a threat to the security of this state. As law abiding citizens we are however doing this peacefully,” he submitted.
Other workers at the institute who spoke with our correspondent but didn’t want their names in print, appealed to President Buhari to intervene and set NITR on a path of progress.
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Hinging on their rights as workers guaranteed by provisions of the labour act 1990 and the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, particularly conventions 87 and 98 on the “right of freedom of Association and collective bargaining”, the joint union of Nigerian Institute For Trypanosomiasis Research (NITR), Kaduna on Friday, protested the reinstatement of suspended DG, Dr. Felicia Chizoba Enwezor.
Staff of the institute, trooped out in large numbers on Friday September 2, carrying placards with various inscriptions.
Addressing the gathering, joint union chairman of the institute, Moyijo Hussaini, said that staff are uncomfortable with her reinstatement for several reasons, including flagrant abuse of her office.
“It is disheartening at this point in time when the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Honourable (Senator) Adeleke Mamora refuses to hear the cries of his staff under his supervision in NITR Kaduna and decided to impose the suspended Overseeing Director General, Dr. Felicia Chizoba Enwezor who was already suspended by the Governing Council of NITR at their 107th Meeting held on the 22nd July, 2022.
Illegal issuance of queries and witch-hunting of staff in the Institute,” the text of the statement, jointly signed by Moyijo Hussaini, Musa Umar and Rabiu Sani Jibril,” alleged. , .
According to the workers, despite all the reasons mentioned above for her suspension by the Governing Council of NITR, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Honourable Senator Adeleke Mamora decided to set aside the decision of the Governing Council and all grievances by Staff of the Institute and reinstated Dr. Felicia Chizoba Enwezor as Overseeing Director General via a letter with Ref. No FMSTI/HM/2021/005/111/422 dated 23rd August, 2022.
“The Minister also went ahead to disregard the constitutional provision of the Act Establishing NITR’s Governing Council (CAP 132 Laws of Federation, 2004) which stipulates five (5) years tenure by asking the Alhaji Shehu Haruna Lambu to step aside in order to impose the suspended Overseeing Director General vide the same letter.
“It is on this note the Joint Unions of NITR, Kaduna found it necessary to embark on a peaceful protest for the Minister’s action Honourable Senator Adeleke Mamora,” the union said.
The union leader stressed that the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria also guarantees the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly (section 40) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to its citizens including children,” a right they are enjoying by the protest.