*Mgt, workers at war over planned mass sack
By Ben Adoga
After the scandal that swept away the Dr. Musa Musa-led management from Abuja Investment Company Limited (AICL) last year, another crisis is brewing in the organisation.
In the current crisis, some staff members of AICL claimed to that they are in possession of a memo sent to the Board by the Head of the Interim Management, Dr. Bashir Isyaku, demanding the sack of over 80 per cent of the workforce on the ground of “incompetence
When contacted, Dr. Isyaku responded: “It’s not true, we will issue a press release to that effect tomorrow (Monday).
The press release did not come at the time of filing this report. Several calls on his mobile phone were not responded.
The aggrieved workers have therefore called for the removal of Isyaku for peace to reign in the company.
In April last year, The AUTHORITY exclusively reported the corruption in AICL in a publication: “Fraudulent sale of properties in Green Acres Estate, EFCC investigates AICL,” which led to the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello to sack the management team and an interim management team led by Dr. Bashir Isyaku was constituted.
Also, no sooner had the Isyaku team settled down to work, it was confronted with another crisis in August over a controversial N5 million paid to the interim head per month without approval by the FCT Administration.
That has left a bitter taste in the mouth of the minister who ordered a reversal to their salaries and the refund of the excesses enjoyed by all members of the team for the months it lasted.
Activities in AICL last week were nearly paralysed as the management and workers were at each other’s throat over allegation of planned mass purge.
The workers told journalists that Isyaku had written a memo to the newly constituted board of AICL to sack 80 per cent of the personnel on ground of “incompetence”, a move they vowed to resist.
One of the workers described the content of the memo as “frivolous and unacceptable,” stressing that since the revelation of the interim management team’s bogus salary to the media and some anti-corruption agencies, there had been no industrial harmony between employees and the management.
He said: “I want to state it very clear that the head of the interim management team has not been comfortable with the presence of most workers since August last year when their dubious salary scale was made public. The man is not comfortable with us because he felt that the present crop of staff will not allow him to carry on with his illegalities on the guise of fighting corruption.
“To achieve his aim, he wrote to the newly constituted board seeking approval to sack 80 per cent of the present workforce on the ground of incompetence. These are staff members who have spent over 10 to 15 years in AICL. In the real sense, between his interim management and us, who is incompetent? What is the criterion used to arrive at that judgment? What extraordinary innovation has he brought on board to improve the capital base of the company since assumption of office in May last year? These are basic questions that are begging for answers.
“The naked truth is that the man sees some of us as whistle-blowers and he wants to do away with some of us on the ground of incompetence. In fact, the board should remove him for lack of industrial harmony and incompetence,” he said.
He called on the intervention of the FCT minister in the crisis.
When The AUTHORITY visited the organisation on Thursday last week, it was gathered that there was a serious meeting between the board and the management.
Our correspondent visited again last Friday and another meeting was in progress. He was, however assured that after mosque, Juma’at prayers, somebody from the management team may react or respond to the issues raised before the second round of the meeting commences, but it was never so.
However, Mrs. Omobolanle Olatunde, VP, Corporate, who was called to the reception to attend to some journalists, said everything the press men said was news to her as she was not aware of any trouble in the organisation, neither were there fracas on Thursday as one of the journalists claimed.
When our correspondent visited on Friday, there was heavy security presence in the premises of AICL with armed mobile policemen stationed in strategic locations, both within and out around the parking lot, especially within the spacious reception area.