Ex-workers of Intercellular Petition PenCom, EFCC over N230m Pension Debt


By Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Former workers of InterC Network, a data service provider formerly known as Intercellular Nigeria Plc have asked the National Pensions Commission (PenCom), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to look into their claims that the company has refused to remit into their respective Retirement Savings Accounts (RSA), N230 million worth of pension deducted from their salaries.

The workers also requested the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and National Assembly to intervene in the alleged pension remittance default, saying that InterC Network took about 82 months pension contributions of 400 workers but failed to remit same to their Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

A petition on this was signed on behalf of the workers by their leader, Mr. Barack Lawrence, and made available to THISDAY yesterday in Abuja. The former workers alleged that the company disengaged them from its service without paying them their outstanding salaries running into 22 months, as well as their pensions and other legal entitlements due to them.

They also stated that their former employer refused to remit deductions to the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) between 2004 and 2005, a period immediately preceding the establishment of PenCom and its enabling act which required employers to transfer all NSITF deductions and contributions to their PFAs.

According to them, the company claimed insolvency and unable to pay them their entitlements when they were laid off. They however, said it has since got back to business and operating under a different name.

“We were inhumanly tortured psychologically, hoodwinked, robbed and insulted. Many of us after over one decade of tireless service to the company have been humiliated by this wicked act which is undeserving of worthy stewards.

“How do you imagine an organisation you have worked and put in so much for almost two years without salaries, they told us to keep faith with the organisation as they were expecting investors who would inject huge capital that will take care of outstanding and projected liabilities, only to wake up one morning to be told that your services are no longer required yet without due payments of outstanding arrears of salaries, allowances, agreed severance package and many years of deducted but unremitted pensions and NSITF to the appropriate staff  PFAs,” they alleged in the petition.

They further said: “We remain united on a common front of justice against injustice and roguery. We are in the dispensation of change and that is why we have resorted to use the relevant agencies of change to get us our due.”

The also warned intending investors in the firm to avoid possible labour troubles from them by ensuring that the actual liability to disengaged staff of the company are factored into any shares purchase agreement they will sign with the firm.