NEMA Boss Inherits N2.8bn Liabilities, N665m Suspicious Staff Claims

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The new management of the  National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) led by its Director-General, Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, inherited about N2.8billion liabilities, including N665 million which was alleged to be suspicious claims from some of its staff.

According to a source, the unverified claims has been causing tension between the new management and the workers especially the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN).

The source stated that while the workers were demanding wholesale payment of N665 million, the management has been insisting on the verification of the claims.

The ASCSN is also opposed to the transfer of the Secretary of the Women Commission Member of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Shaibu Afusatu who had been redeployed to Lagos, the source revealed further, as it demanded the reposting of the female staff to NEMA headquarters.

It was learnt that the workers’ demand for the payment of the unverified claims was behind the threats by NEMA workers to go on strike.

Maihaja, however said he has no anti-labour agenda, saying that since he came on board, NEMA workers had been receiving their salaries and claims on time.

He also said he had redeployed the President of ASCSN in NEMA back to the headquarters in Abuja.

He confirmed that he inherited about N2.8billion including N665 million unverified staff claims.

According to the fact-sheet, the breakdown of the  liabilities profile of NEMA which the new DG inherited was as follows: N82,019,313.90(2015); N1,212,063,635.77(2016); and N1,507,087,420.82(Jan-March 2017).

The inherited staff liabilities were N9,553,400(2015); N273,592,861.12(2016) and N382,096,780.02).

The document showed that the unverified N665 million became subject of dispute when it was discovered that a Level 08 officer applied for N14million as outstanding claims.

Another senior staff asked for the refund of N58 million he spent on behalf of NEMA.

The reliable  source at NEMA said: “While the workers were mounting pressure for payment of claims, NEMA management is insisting on verification of all outstanding claims. The next we received was threat to go on strike action.”

The source said the redeployment  of a staff, Shaibu Afusatu, out of Abuja was also an issue raised by the Trade Union Congress (FCT Council) against NEMA.

The leadership of the Trade Union Congress (FCT Council) asked NEMA management to “reverse the posting in line with extant labour laws, international conventions and a subsisting agreement.”

But NEMA in its response said: “The redeployment of the affected staff was a routine exercise carried out within the statutory responsibility of the management stipulated in their  letters of appointment.

“The action of redeployment of staff does not in any way amount to violation of relevant section of ILO Convention 87. The agency, however, supports and encourages and allows free and legitimate association among its staff and will continue to do so.”

Speaking with journalists, Maihaja said: “I inherited the liabilities and for all intents and purposes, a chief executive ought to verify all claims that are not paid before he resumes. I am doing exactly that.

“I have not owed workers their salaries since I came on board. Also, I have been paying all the claims of workers of NEMA  as and when due since I resumed  in April  2017.

“I am not anti-labour, but I am insisting on due process to verify the outstanding claims which I inherited.”