The lawyer representing 324 unjustly terminated staffs of Bank of Agriculture, BOA, and Kaduna State Coordinator Legal Aid Council Barr. Franca Ohoavworhua, said the Managing Director/CEO of the Agric bank, Alhaji Kabir Mohammed Adamu, lied that the affected staffs have been paid their entitlement.
Leaders of the 324 affected staffs spearheaded by Christian Agada have also collaborated the Barr. Ohoavworhua’s allegations, saying they have not been paid their entitlements as alleged and claimed by BOA MD.
The management of the Bank had earlier debunked allegations in the media about the unjustly termination of 324 employees, saying the affected staffs, from the non-core sector of the organization, were disengaged in line with the practice in the industry and were duly settled to the tune of N1.1billion as severance allowances.
The MD who spoke through the Bank’s Acting Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. James Wayo, while reacting to the earlier allegations by the disengaged staffs in Kaduna, explained that the disengaged 325 employees of the bank, comprising of drivers, Secretaries and auxiliaries, were from the non-core sector of the organization. Their disengagement was due to age, length of service, decline in productivity, disciplinary cases in 2011, and in accordance with due process, and collective agreement in line with the practice in the industry, the banks stated.
The MD confirmed that the affected employees were duly paid all their entitlements in accordance with the salary structure as approved by the National Income Salaries and Wages Commission, NISWC, and the Employee Handbook.
A documents showing payments to the said 324 disengaged staff of BOA, in 2011 and 2012, including 70 re-engaged, were tendered before newsmen for clarity, to justify the evidence, in view of allegations made by affected staff of not been paid anything.
According to the MD, a total of N1.1billion was paid to the disengaged staff as severance allowance amounting to: N520,644,339.14 to Junior staff; while N624,969,884.29, were paid to Senior staff of the bank, as breakdown.
But reacting to the allegations made by the bank’s MD, in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna, recently, both the affected staffs and their lawyer, from the legal Aid council, vehemently debunked the allegations, describing it as false.
The lawyer, Barr. Ohoavworhua told newsmen that none of the affected staff have been paid their entitlements up till this year 2018, to his knowledge, “because as the legal representative of the unjustly sacked workers of the bank, I would have been communicated formally by the bank, and would have hard documentary evidence to show for it, to back their claims.
“I was in the Bank when the National Assembly ordered that all the sack should be review, and that during the review those that are qualify should be retain and those who cannot be retain because they are not qualify should be paid off their entitlements. None of them were paid. I’ve not heard of anyone of them that was paid because if they were paid, I would have been formally communicated. If they were paid I wouldn’t have been here to talk to journalists to misinform Nigeria. If the Bank paid them, how come they did not communicate to me as the legal Aid Council or my Director General, DG. The problem started from 2011; the stipend they claim they paid was forced into their account and ask them to come and sign without the consent of the legal Aid Council (the voice of the voiceless), because they know, as lawyer we can’t any trash. BOA did that when they noticed that the affected staff were going to legal Aid Council and Public Complaints Commission to lodge the complaint”, Barr Ohoavworhua lamented.
Also speaking, chairman of affected staff, Christian Agada explained that they were deceived and made to give them their names and bank account details under the guise that there was a mistake in computer department, only for them to start posting money, that was nowhere near the entitlements of members.
He said” In 2011, we were told that there was a mistake in the computer department and please needed our various payment bank account number and our names. About one or two weeks later in August 22nd, early morning, they brought termination letters to us without any reasons. They said they are terminating our appointments. When we started with them they said we should hold on, and that they will get back to us. Later they sent Alkali, the bank legal adviser, to call us to Labour house close to NTA Kaduna. He told us they will return some of us. He said meanwhile what do we want. We said we don’t want anything, those who are quality to go back should be taken back to the bank, those not should be pay their entitlements. About 3-5 months later, they started paying half. If your entitlement is N1 million, they give you N500, 000, if N4million, they give you N1million, and were not following the condition of service. Even the money paid to us was for 2008 and not 2011 as they said. We’ve salary structure which was not followed properly. Some people spent up to 17-30 working years in the bank. So we said we can’t bear this. We went to national assembly that ruled in favour of us and ask them to go back and review the payment, they accepted. They invite our lawyer, she went. When they met BOA legal adviser, Alkali, our lawyer wrote a letter to them . They said they will reply the letter orally, but our lawyer, madam refused, and ask them to put it in writing. They told her that after all, national assembly is not a law court, and therefore they can decide to obey them or not. So none of the affected staff were retain as alleged by MD.
On the allegations of recruitment scam levelled against the top management, Agada insisted that sons and daughters and close relations of top Management of the Bank were employed to replaced the sacked staff of the poorer Nigerians, against the NASS directive.
Agada also revealed that, some of those engaged without following guidelines, were still yet to be graduated from university and completed their mandatory NYSC, but were being paid salary.
The banks management however dismissed the allegations, saying, all recruitment exercises in the Bank were carried out in accordance with due process, the principles of Federal Character and the approval of the Federal Character Commission.
However, on the alleged recruitment of children, Sons and daughters of the top management staffs of BOA, MD said the new management of the bank knew nothing about it and should be excused, apparently admitting, it was the pervious regime or their predecessor.
“On receipt of the resolution of the NASS requesting the Bank to review their case and give them first right of refusal in case of vacancies for which they are qualified, the Bank carried out a review, reengaged about 70 of them as Drivers and Secretaries, the same non-core sector, but leader of the sacked staff faulted the MDs’ claim.
“The Clerk of the NASS, the Permanent Secretary and Hon. Minister, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Complaint Commission and Legal Aid Council Kaduna were appropriately informed, but the lega Aid council coordinator refuted the claim during interview.
‘The Bank appeared before the House Committee on Legislative Compliance in December, 2016 on the matter, where the committee confirmed that the Bank had complied with the resolution of the House, said MD.
“The Bank further appeared before the House Committee on Legislative compliance to show evidence of payment of their entitlements. Details of the Bank’s submission on compliance with the resolution of NASS and evidence of payment were made available to their representatives (solicitors) by the committee.
“He said the current Management Team of the Bank came into office March, 2017, and although management is continuous, but they were not part of these allegations (recruitment scam) we are talking about,” he added.
It would be recalled that the disengaged staff had alleged at a news conference in Kaduna recently that their appointments were wrongfully terminated by the Bank without settlement of their entitlements.
According to the sacked staff, the banks was scared at the NASS and pleaded against the involvement of Journalists when they refused to comply with the order of House Committee Chairman on Compliance, Barr. Olasokubu Abiodun.
While the affected staff appealed strongly to the relevant authority to look into the fraud and sack perpetrated against the poor sons and daughters of Nigerians for the sake of the God and their family, Barr. Ohoavworhua revealed that two have already died, suffering from landlord ejection and the lack of money for medical bills.
An affected staff bearing Ochigbo Gabriel, revealed that they “are aware of where the sons and relations of the management are posted to work when it’s was dawn on them to move them from headquarters to Zaria, among other illegalities peddled by the top managers of the bank against them.