BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA—OVER 500 sacked staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Thursday protested what they described as wrongful disengagement and non-payment of entitlements by the nation’s apex bank.
The sacked staff have written to the Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, PCC, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Obunike Ohaegbu, appealing for his intervention to ensure that the CBN looked into their plight.
Speaking to Vanguard, coordinator of the sacked CBN staff, Bulus Daniel, said some of them worked as temporary staff for over 18 years without being converted or confirmed as staff, contrary to labour rules, adding that they were sacked by Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the former CBN Governor.
Daniel said: “We are ex-temporary staff of Central Bank of Nigeria that have been laid off since May 2007 and January 2008 after putting 5-20 years in service without being paid our benefits and entitlements.”
He said that several letters were written to the former Speaker of House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole over the non- payment of their terminal benefits but noted that nothing positive was achieved.
According to him, the disengaged staff have been facing serious hardship.
Daniel said they had taken their case to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, through a petition and a reminder dated July 11, 2013, and that the commission had referred their matter to the Federal Ministry of Labour and even the CBN for action.
He regretted that despite the efforts of the commission, it seemed all the appeals were ignored by the CBN, stressing that only 85 of the sacked members that were highly connected had been re-absorbed by the apex bank, while about 500 of them were left out.
He said: “After serving the bank diligently, honestly and with integrity in sundry offices and sensitive areas, including treasury, Currency Processing Unit, CPU, and briquetting office between five and 20 years and with the same job roles with permanent staff, our appointments were terminated without entitlement and benefits. The fact remains that 85 of our colleagues were reinstated as full staff based on personal connection.”
The sacked CBN workers appealed to the apex bank to recall and make them permanent staff with effect from the time they were recruited or pay their entitlement and benefits with the CBN condition of service.
They also appealed to the PCC to continue to intervene on behalf of the ordinary citizens as the commissioner had been doing since his appointment.
Reacting to the petition sent to him by the affected workers, the FCT Commissioner of Public Complaints Commission, Obunike Ohaegbu, expressed concern that the CBN could engage people as casual staff without confirming their appointments for close to 20 years.
Ohaegbu appealed to them to remain calm and not take laws into their hands as efforts would be made to look into their plight.
“It is a surprise to me that even the CBN has casual staff, why should somebody be working for 18 years as casual staff.
“I will deliver your petition to the CBN governor and other issues. I have written to the CBN governor requesting for audience with him,” he said.
He told them to have faith in an institution of the government that was committed to the well being of Nigerians as President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was committed to ensuring that Nigerians got the best.