By Uchechukwu Nnaike
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Federal Polytechnic, Bida chapter, has faulted the impending sack of three union leaders by the Rector, Dr. Abubakar Dzukogi without following due process and obeying court order.
ASUP also appealed to the minister of education to stop the planned sack of three union leaders for allegedly exposing mismanagement and maladministration in the polytechnic.
Investigations revealed that the rector, who retired recently from the polytechnic has penciled down the names of ASUP Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Assistant Secretary for sack, despite the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) order restraining the Dzukogi-led management.
The planned sack may not be unconnected with ASUP’s continuous push for the probe of the five years administration of Dzukogi for alleged mismanagement of funds and maladministration.
The union had petitioned the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu in which it alleged mismanagement and maladministration in the polytechnic in the last five years under the leadership of Dzukogi.
The union also invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate alleged corrupt practices of the current polytechnic management such as the TETFund grants and misappropriation of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The NICN, Abuja Division has declared as unconstitutional, null and void the reconstituted Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee (SSDC) of the institution conveyed via an internal memo dated August 11, 2020 as ultra-vires, null and void.
The NICN also stated that only a duly constituted governing council of the polytechnic is empowered under the Federal Polytechnic Act, 2019 to constitute the SSDC.
The court further declared as void any disciplinary action taken against the three ASUP executives and restrained the council, rector and registrar from receiving, acting on or implementing any recommendations from the committee.
The restraining order was issued on September 26, 2020. The court observed that the rector usurped the powers of the governing council and caused the registrar to reconstitute the SSDC.
In another petition to the minister of education, ASUP accused Dzukogi of disrespecting court order. The letter was dated October 6 and titled ‘A Case of Witch-hunt and Disrespect to Court Order’.
The union informed the minister that the rector has concluded plans to sack ASUP Bida Poly Chairman, Abubakar Ndasabe, Vice-Chairman, Owoeye Olaniyi and Assistant Secretary, Ibrahim Abubakar, and sought his intervention to stop the illegal process.
The union informed the minister that it visited the school clinic and what it discovered was an eye sore in terms of drugs provision and availability of needed facilities, despite staff compulsorily contributing 10 per cent of their monthly salary to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
ASUP said it made a formal report on its findings to Dzukogi after the visit to the clinic and rather than address the issues, the retired rector chooses to harass, intimidate and witch-hunt union leaders, clinic medical director (Dr. Ajari), chief pharmacist of the clinic and some staff of the clinic.
”The formal letter challenging the competency of the SSDC for the trial and court process served on the rector. It is the union’s prayer that you use your good office to urgently intervene in order to stop the now retired rector from meting unjust punishment on the leadership and members of the union for they never committed any offense,” ASUP stated.
Meanwhile, the union in its submission to the senior staff disciplinary committee dated September 8, said it identified some members of the SSDC that are partial and cannot give them fair hearing and justice.
ASUP urged the identified partial members of SSDC to recuse themselves from the sitting and also step down from participating in further proceedings of the committee.
“We only appeared before this committee out of respect for the constituted authority and to intimate the SSDC of the fact that there is already a court injunction restraining the retired rector from taking any punitive measure against any member of the union. A breach of which may be liable to imprisonment,” Ndasabe stated.
The rector confirmed that some union leaders who ran foul of the poly laws were to face a panel, but went to court for protection.
Dzukogi insisted that due process was followed in setting up the SSDC and wondered why the union leaders who have issues are complaining.