Â By Chinedu Eze
For what she described as unfair treatment and discrimination, the former Director of Human Resources and Administration at the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Hajia Salamatu Umar-Elumah has petitioned the Presidency, alleging undue removal from the agency after 17 years in service.
Umar-Elumah was posted from FAAN to Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) inÂ a recent re-organisation carried out in the industry by the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. But Umar-Elumah had objected to the new posting pointing out that it would be injurious to her career and gratuity when she retires in the next eight years.
In the petition she wrote to the presidency protesting, she described the deployment as â€œsubtle attempts at truncating my career by the Authorities in the Aviation Sector of the Federal Ministry of Transportation.â€
Â She explained that in 2000, she sought and applied for employment with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria through a job placement advert by the then Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) and after the rigorous recruitment exercise, she was eventually employed and appointed an Assistant General Manager.
Â â€œThe essence of my petition is anchored on a recently released posting instruction vide letter Ref No: MCA/0146/S.22/Vol.Tc/91 and dated 18thÂ August 2017 from the Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja. The letter, which was signed by the Director, Human Resources Management of the Ministry, directed that based on the directives of the Minister of States, Aviation, I should immediately proceed and resume at the Accident Investigation Bureau as Director, (HRM),â€ she explained in the petition.
Â Umar-Elumah said in as much as she wished to remain loyal to constituted authority, she noted that in the deployment letter, â€œthe posting instruction under reference is not only a breach of Public Service Rules and Guidelines on postings, but also, an attempt at sustaining the frequent irregularities with regards to the subject matter based on indisputable facts.
She said she applied and got recruited by the FAAN in 2000 and at the time of her recruitment, she agreed with the terms and conditions of her employment as a full-fledged staff of FAAN. According to her, â€œto the best of my knowledge, FAAN still remains an independent/autonomous corporate entity established by an Act of Parliamentâ€, adding that the establishment Act of FAAN had not been amended to warrant the ministryâ€™s action on the subject matter in contention (wrongful posting/deployment) of a pensionable, career officer to another independent entity).
Umar-Elumah also noted that by the public service rules and extant regulations on redeployment, the conditions under, which an officer may be redeployed include: secondment to another scheduled government agency for two years in the first instance and another two years and no more; on transfer of service to another scheduled government agency based on need, request and other reasons so adduced; and the resignation of a serving officer who wishes to be engaged by another government agency.
She said in the petition that there was never a time she was transferred or went on secondment to any agency within or outside the aviation sector and that her record of service and career antecedents were all domiciled with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
Umar-Elumah expressed the belief that the â€œpurported posting instruction in contention smacks of outright mischief and an attempt at broad day victimisation to enhance my sudden and premature removal from office through whatever means possibleâ€.
She therefore prayed the presidency to declare that the recently released posting instruction is â€œultra vires, null and void and of no effectâ€, even as she called for the immediate cessation of all attempts at victimising her by some yet-to-be-identified officials in the Ministry of Aviation and FAAN.
Â She also urged the president to use his good offices â€œto declare that future postings of officers in the six aviation agencies should follow due diligence and that such irregularities which have become rampant in the industry be halted in the interest of the survival of the aviation industry.â€