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Published On: Thu, Sep 3rd, 2015

Fears of sack forces NTDC boss to backdown …as workers call off strike

OREDOLA ADEOLA

Following the shutdown of the headquarter of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) in Abuja, by the striking workers operating under the auspices of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees, AUPCTRE, the union and the Mrs. Sally Mbanefo, Director General NTDC have agreed to a  21 days grace to meet the demands of the workers.

This is coming against the background of the call made by the staff of the corporation for the sack of the DG over  allegation of her failure to honour agreement signed with the staff on March 2, 2015 on promotion, improper placement, use of consultancy services as well as other administrative issues.

A source at the corporation headquarter disclosed that the DG met in a closedoor  with the workers and reached an agreement to accede to their demands. However calls made to Dr.Mbanefo to ascertain the conditions reached with the protesting staff proved abortive as her number was not connecting. The corporation’s public relation officer, Ms. Grace Ukah also inform our correspondent that the strike had been called off but she was not aware of the agreement reached with the union.

It would be recalled that the protesting staff, led by Comrade Anthony Benjamin,  in a memo obtained by Hallmark accused the DG of not properly mobilizing funds for the activities of the corporation as it relates to administrative functions.

They accused her of incapacitating the staff with the claim of shortage of funds to perform the statutory functions of the corporation but overhead will be released and go out through other sources.

The staff said, ” the DG does not fund the zonal offices, she will visit the zone and stop at the airport to insult the staff of the zone to their integrity by asking them to go and source for funds from  affluent individuals for the running of the office . She did not even appreciate the efforts of the staff at ensuring the success of her visit to the state.

”We are tired of a DG who claims to be promoting domestic tourism but will not fund the zones offices where tourism potentials are domiciled, but will tell the staff there in no money for official works but there is money for other fictitious travels by herself and her associates to different destinations.

She was also accused of travelling out of the country for weeks without delegating authority to any Director in the corporation. The staff revealed that even when the authority is given to a director, he or she is not backed up with power to approve funds for administrative functions thereby paralyzing official duties each time she is out of the country.

The workers also said, ”Our international exhibitions has longed been dropped , our domestic functions has alos gradually eroded for instance we were not at OsunOsogbo, Igbo Ukwu Festival, Durban festival and Argungu fishing festival we were not there to promote tourism as she deliberately  refused  staff attendance.

”We are tired of a DG who prefers to use the name of the corporation to sign Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with individuals, Organsiation and proceed are not made know n to either the management or the entire staff but cornered to herself at the expense of the corporation staff.

Comrade OkpomoUnwuchola, Chairman, NTDC branch of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), had earlier alleged that the DG signed an agreement with other individuals and private organisation with the aim of increasing the revenue of NTDC.

He however regretted that the DG failed to account for the proceeds realised through event sponsorship by private organisations adding that she engages in reckless spending by employing people and placing them on jumbo salary ahead of more competent staff. He said, ”We are in charge of management of the entire tourist sites across the States but today, the tourist sites are dilapidated and cannot be upgraded by NTDC.

According to one of her aid, who spoke under anonymous, the allegation by some of the staff is spurious. He noted that the staff is comfortable with bureaucratic structure in the civil service that had promoted corruption before she took over. He also added that the DG has not been able to meet most of the capital projects because no there was not federal allocation for them.

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