*As NLC kicks against retrenchment
By Omoh Gabriel & Funmi Komolafe
LAGOSâ€”The Management of the Intercontinental BankÂ Monday served sack letters to no fewer than 1,500 of its workers. However, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, protested the retrenchment, but did not disclose what its next line of action would be.
NLCâ€™s General Secretary, Mr. John Odah, said in a statement, â€œour stand is that workers are not responsible for the crisis. The Central Bank of Nigeria and the affected banks know those who abused the trust of depositors to enrich themselves,â€ Odah said.â€
“We will not agree to be made scape goats. As long as those people are not made to cough out the money they took, weâ€™ll not accept a situation where workers will be sacked.â€
The sack of the workers is a continuation of the house-cleaning the bank started last Thursday. While Thursdayâ€™s exercise was mainly targeted at the top management, this time senior managers, managers, deputy and assistant managers up to management training in the bank were affected.
Vanguard gathered that last Friday, the bankâ€™s management, at a meeting with all the regional and branch managers in its head office complied the list of those to be sack or to be retain in the bank. Managers were said to have left the bank with the instruction to submit the list of those they do not want to work with and the entire list was compiled weekend.
It would be recalled that the management of Intercontinental Bank last Thursday sacked about 50 senior management staff of the bank. But in an official statement the bank said only 26 senior management of the bank voluntarily resignedÂ their appointments.
Insiders told Vanguard that those affected were the executive management from the rank of Assistant General Managers and above. Vanguard learnt that in the exercise all the General Managers, Deputy General Managers except two, and 17 Assistant General Managers were affected by the forced resignation.
The banks statement said â€œAs part of the on-going restructuring exercise in Intercontinental Bank Plc, the Management of the Bank yesterday accepted the voluntary exit of 26 Senior Management officers of the Bank.
â€œThe collective exit which is viewed as a sacrifice, is the contribution of these Senior Management officers to the recently-launched â€˜Project Transformationâ€™ which is being implemented in three phases.
â€œThis is expected to pave the way for the new Management to reposition the Bank on a new foundation. The Bank is committed to pursuing bold and necessary changes that will fully restore value and confidence to all our stakeholders.
â€œIt would be recalled that the Bank recently launched â€œProject Transformationâ€ which is a three- pronged strategic plan to stabilise, re-build and consolidate the bank for greater efficiency and profitability.â€
Vanguard investigation, however, revealed that the affected staff were forced to resign as they were told that there services were no longer required.
Those being forced out of the bank, according to a senior officials, were those regarded as being the moles in the bank that appear to be loyal to the erstwhile Managing Director, Erastus Akingbola.
Yesterday the caretaker Managing Director, Mr. Lai Alabi told newsmen in Lagos while reacting to the waivers the bank granted to debtors that â€œwe are contesting with serious issue of moles in the bank, what this people intend to achieve was to malign the bank, frustrate the progress we have made for the purpose of serving certain interests.
â€œThis management has remained focussed in operating in an open manner with a high degree of integrity and transparency. We are succeeding in introducing a culture of good corporate governance which was entirely lacking in the past.
â€œA few disgruntled elements who are not happy with this new direction are working hard underground to frustrate it. We shall not allow them.â€
It was gathered that the sack of the senior management staff was part of the effort of the new management of the bank to flush out senior officers who are believed to be loyal to the former management or had compromised their position during the era. Intercontinental Bank is one of the five banks whose chief executives was sacked by the CBN in the first phase of the banksâ€™ audit exercise.
The banksâ€™ Chief executive was sacked alongside the executive directors for poor corporate governanceÂ which led to huge non-performing loans that eroded the shareholdersâ€™ funds of the banks.