Staff of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) on Monday shut down the headquarters of the corporation over the failure of the Director-General, Dr Sally Mbanefo, to abide by the agreement signed with the staff on March 2, 2015 on promotion, improper placement, use of consultancy services as well as other administrative issues.
The protesting staff also accused the DG of embezzling over N300m million released by the Federal Government for the development of the Corporation, staff training and welfare.
The staffs carried placards with inscriptions such as, ‘All We Are Saying: Sally Must Go’, ‘Domestic Tourism Promotion Is Not About Visit To Government House For Selfish Interest’; ‘Please Baba, Save NTDC The Apex Tourism Implementing Agency From Extinction Under Sally’ and among others .
The Chairman, FCT Chapter of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Comrade Anthony Benjamin who spoke with newsmen after the protest admitted that Mbanefo reneged on the signed agreement saying that the strike would continue until the DG was removed by President Muhammdu Buhari and replaced with a competent professional.
“We have been copying our letters to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation but it appears that they don’t supervise the parastatals well because they all have problems.
He described the DG as an incompetent Tourism Manager that has been squandering money in NTDC without achieving any meaningful result even as he regretted that countries like the Gambia, South Africa and Kenya depended on tourism for their economic growth.
On whether he was aware that no fund has been released for capital project this year, he said, “The overhead have been released which can be used in carrying out some of the projects.
Reacting, the Chairman, NTDC branch of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Comrade Okpomo Samuel Unwuchola maintained that the DG signed an agreement with other individuals and private organisations with the aim of increasing the revenue of NTDC.
He 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.
According to him, “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.
Unwuchola lamented that NTDC have shunned local festivals like Osun-Oshogbo, Argungun, Durbar as well as international exhibitions this year, which he believed was a contributory factor to the extinction of domestic tourism.
The DG however refused to react to the various allegations levelled against her as she neither picked calls nor replied to emails and text messages sent to her phone as at press time.