By Jude Owuamanam, Managing Editor, Northern Operations
Abuja (Sundiata Post) — Activities at the National Metallurgical Development Centre (NMDC), Jos, have been grounded, following an industrial action embarked upon by the staff of the Centre.
The staff are demanding, among other things, the sacking of the Director General, Ibrahim Madugu, and the payment of their promotion arrears.
The workers, on Thursday, barricaded the gates of the Centre, preventing visitors from entering the Complex.
It took the intervention of heavily armed policemen from having the facilities being vandalised.
The policemen took over the gates of the Centre, and prevented anybody from gaining entrance into the Complex.
The protesting staff carried many placards, with various inscriptions, and chanting ‘DG must go! DG must go!!’.
Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes (ASURI), Adekunle Mayaleeke, told Sundiata Post that the staff were tired of the high-handedness and inept leadership of the Director General.
He said that the DG, having had his tenure ended, should have left the Centre, but had rather lobbied to have his appointment extended two times of three months apiece.
He said that the DG had denied the staff the payment of their promotion arrears.
“The DG’s was appointed in 2010 for a single term of five years and by his letter of appointment, his term expired since October 2016. But he had lobbied to get his appointed renewed by three months twice.
“We are saying that the DG’s term has expired, and he has been lording it over us. He has no legal standing to preside over the affairs of the centre.
“For now, he is a ghost worker because his name has been removed from the voucher.
“The DG has denied us of our entitlements. He owes us about N149 million in promotion arrears from 2008 to 2010.
“In spite of this, he has been harassing us, and inciting some of his loyalists against us by setting up a parallel union,” Mayaleeke said.
Mayaleeke said that the staff have sent a letter to the supervising ministry, Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, on the state of affairs at the Centre.
He added that all the sister unions in the Centre, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), and the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research and Associated Institutes, (SSAUTHRAI), backed their action.
But Madugu denied the claims of the workers.
He said that the allegations against him were cheap, and described the action of the workers as normal in a democratic process, where everybody has a right to voice their opinion.
The DG, however, added that, in doing that, they (the protesters) should be properly guided.
Madugu claimed said that the staff were misguided.
He told Sundiata Post, in an interview, that by the nature of his appointment, he was entitled for another term of five years, which is currently being processed by the Ministry.
While denying that he owed workers their promotion arrears, Madugu said that it was his place to pay promotion arrears, as such funds were provided by the Federal Government.
“The issue is that it is an industrial unrest; you know that you cannot satisfy everybody. Those, who feel dissatisfied, will make up stories, and we are in a democratic setting, where you cannot ask people not to voice their opinion.
“But they should do so in a democratic manner. There is nothing above dialogue. People can say that you are a liar and ‘419’ (cheat); (but) that does not mean you are,” Madugu said.
On the allegations that he is sitting tight on the appointment, his term of appointment having expired, Madugu said, “Go and read the Act. My term has not expired. I am entitled to second term of five years, and it’s being processed at the Presidency. Go and ask them what the Act establishing the Centre said”.