By; PETER NOSAKHARE, Kaduna
Sacked workers of Bank of Agriculture (BOA), have appealed to the Federal Government to come to their aid by ensuring the quick payment of their entitlements and reinstatement of those who were unduly dismissed as ordered by the House of Representatives.
Speaking with journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Kaduna Secretariat spokesperson of a delegation of the 325 sacked workers that came with the appeal Mr. Edwin Ochigbo said the Bank had in 2011, terminated their appointments and despite the intervention of the National Assembly and the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria the Bank was yet to do anything regarding their plight.
He said on October 27, 2014, the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions had in a letter signed by Clerk of the National Assembly Salisu Maikasuwa resolved that the “management of Bank of Agriculture review the dismissal of the petitioners (325), and accord them the right of first refusal in case of vacancies for which they are qualified in the Bank,” and that the Bank was yet to respond after acknowledging receipt of the letter.
“When the Bank refused to act we went to the Legal Aid Council our solicitor, that wrote a letter signed by Miss Jummai Musa Senior Legal Aid officer back to the House on May 25, 2015, informing them that BOA had refused to honour their letter, and that Babaji Haruna, legal adviser said nothing will be done concerning the House directive, as it is not a court order but a House ruling which he may decide to honour or not. Babaji Haruna advised the management of the Bank to go ahead and employ, that the House ruling was not binding on the Bank.”
According to Ochigbo, the Bank even lied to the House that the directive to review their case had been carried out, only to employ some family members of staff, adding that in some instances while the employees were still in school as replacement for those who were supposed to be reinstated.
“The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Human Resource Management Department wrote a letter signed Mrs. A. C Bawa a Director on behalf of the Minister to the Bank directing the Bank to respond to the case of the sacked workers in 14 days was not dated, when the directive will commence and expire was not stated,” Ochigbo explained.
It would be recalled that in 2011, Bank of Agriculture terminated the appointed of 325 members of staff nationwide and is yet to pay their entitlements and reinstate some as directed by the House of Representatives.
The workers that visited the NUJ, include, Edwin Ochigbo (spokesperson), Dangana Jacob, Christian Agada, Nuhu Dankaka, Danjuma Leo and Ishaya Lanku.