The last has not been heard of the unlawful disengagement of the general manager of Audit and compliance in the Niger Delta Power Holding, NDPHC, as the Senate Committee on Public Petition has heard that both Yemi Osinbajo, the vice president, and Abba Kyari, the chief of staff to the president, deliberately refused to implement the reinstatement order by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In her presentation to the Senate Committee in Abuja, the sacked staff noted that her petition was actually against both the NDPHC, of which the Vice President is the chair of the Board and the Chief of Staff to the President who blatantly refused to convey the approval of Mr. President’s reinstatement order.
Mrs Mohammed in her 10-page petition also noted that her grudge with the NDPHC was about the unlawful commencement of the process of her gratuity when the need for her reinstatement was established by President Buhari through Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, who considered her disengagement to be against the terms and conditions of her employment and therefore unlawful, null and void.
She wrote: “My predicament started since Friday, 10th of June, 2016, when the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Engr. Babachir David Lawal announced the dissolution of the Executive Management of NDPHC by the Federal Government with immediate effect on Nigerian Television Authority network news. The then SGF also directed the Managing Director of the company Mr. James Olotu to handover to Mr. Chiedu Ugbo, who had been appointed as acting Managing Director of the company. He also directed all the Executive Directors of the company to handover immediately to the most senior officers in their respective departments.
“It is also instructive to point out that throughout my twenty four (24) years of service to the country, I have never been found wanting in the discharge of my duties or was involved in any form of misconduct. To the contrary, I have worked diligently, meritoriously and obtained relevant additional professional qualifications such as certificate of membership of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Fellow of the Chartered Instituted of Taxation of Nigeria among others, which added great value to my work. Records are available to authenticate these facts.
“I was informed that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has in exercise of his powers as President approved my disengagement as General Manager (I herein attach copies of the letter of my disengagement signed by the former SGF for your perusal as Appendix iv).
“Surprisingly, at the time of the announcement of the dissolution of the Board of Executive Directors and my disengagement Mr. President was away on vacation to London for his first Medical Trip, which raises the question if indeed it was the President that actually approved it? Following the announcement of the dissolution on NTA, I wrote a letter of appeal against my wrongful disengagement of my appointment to the Vice-President and Chairman of the NDPHC Board, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osibanjo, SAN on the 21st June, 2016. In that letter, I pointed out the unlawfulness of my disengagement and appealed for my reinstatement. Up to the time of my writing to you, I have neither received an acknowledgement of my letter to the Vice-President nor has he acted on it to the best of my knowledge.
“Following my petition to President Buhari, he gladly directed the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to look into the matter and advise him appropriately. During his investigation, the Honourable Minister wrote to the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation seeking to know the actual source of the directive for my disengagement. He was later informed that it was Vice President Osinbajo that instructed my disengagement.
“I would like the Senate Committee to note that even if it was the Vice-President in his capacity as Chairman of the Executive Board of Niger Delta Power Holding Company of Nigeria Limited and Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the decision was procedurally wrong, a breach of the terms and conditions of my employment, not in compliance with the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association and therefore null and void. And I strongly believe that as a cerebrated Professor of Law, Senior Advocate of Nigeria and man of God, the Vice-President knows that very well. Clearly, there was something suspicious about the way and manner of my disengagement, which raises a lot of unanswered questions.
“Thereafter, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice reverted to Mr. President as directed after thorough investigation and recommended for my reinstatement as General Manager (Audit) in Niger Delta Power Holding Company, which Mr. President gladly approved. However, the Chief of Staff, who was supposed to convey the approval for my reinstatement to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, did not do so up to this moment. Regrettably, the matter is still being held up at the office of the Chief of Staff to Mr. President. This is really unfortunate.
“You may wish to know that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami wrote to the Chief of Staff since 25th of October, 2016, almost sixteen (16) months ago conveying the approval for my reinstatement, yet he disregarded the Presidential directive for personal interest. This is incredibly a dereliction of duty and administrative sabotage.
“Mr. Chairman Sir, from the foregoing, it is very clear that I am being persecuted for diligently performing my duties as General Manager (Audit & Compliance) in line with the extant rules and regulations of the company. If I would not be commended by a Government of change headed by an acclaimed man of integrity, I should not be punished for doing the correct thing in line with the extant laws, rules and regulations of the Company and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Under cross-examination, the Managing Director of NDPHC, Chiedu Ugbo, claimed ignorance of the circumstances that led to the disengagement of the petitioner. And that the board had not met formally since the present government came on board in 2015.
He, however, said that the organisation would obey and comply with any directive either for her reinstatement and any other recommendation from the government.
In his own remarks, the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, said that that it has been established beyond doubt that due process of law was not jettisoned in the way and manner the petitioner was unjustly kicked out of the job.
He promised that the Senate would do everything possible to make sure that justice is done to remedy the unlawful sack of the petitioner from work in the interest of justice.