Workers at the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday protested the issuance of query to its leaders for “gross insubordination, disrespect for constituted authority” by the director general of the Commission, Arunma Oteh.
The staff of the commission staged the protest within the premises of the SEC building chanting “Oteh must go!!!” with some of their placards reading “no to sole administrator-ship”, “no to tyranny and highhandedness.”
They gave Ms Oteh two weeks ultimatum to give in to their demands which they said is just for her to do the right thing.
The headquarters of the commission had been besieged by security operatives from Monday, 10th of September 2012 over rumour that the staff of the commission had decided in the congress they held the Friday before that day to stage a protest.
Though no protest was held that day, a letter addressed to Ms Oteh same day by SEC’s branch of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) had advised the “DG to use her good office to address the issues” of her employment of contract staff against the directive of the former Board of the commission.
A report on the periodic check of SEC from the office of Auditor General of the Federation indicated that the rules for engagement of contract staff were not adhered to in the commission’s engagement of 15 contract staff.
The document dated 20th April 2012, “recommended that appointments of these fifteen (15) purportedly engaged staff be reverted as the engagements were not done in accordance with the Public Service Rules.”
In the letter, the union also sought to know the reason for the deployment of security operatives to the headquarters of the commission.
“It is on record that the Board extract of 56 Board meeting directed that if by 31st July, 2012 the contract staff of the commission was not regularized, their appointment should be terminated. This directive has not been complied with, rather a counter directive was given by the DG to the finance and account department to pay up their remuneration up to August 2012 without any directive suppressing the earlier directive of the board,” the letter with the heading “issues of urgent attention” read in part.
The letter signed by Muhammad Salihu, chairman of SEC branch of AUPCTRE and John Briggs, Secretary General of SEC branch of AUPCTRE read in part: “Mr Omotayo who is one of the unregularized staff who once served as a technical adviser to the DG was redeployed to head the Internal Control Department. This in our opinion creates a moral issue as Mr Omotayo by virtue of his former position would not constitute a sufficient check to executive or administrative excesses. His redeployment should therefore be checked.”
Two days later, 12th September 2012 precisely, the DG responded by issuing query to the chairman of the union, Muhammd Salihu and his Secretary John Briggs, according to the unionists.
A copy of the query issued to Muhammad Salihu said his participation in the union’s letter “is tantamount to unbridled insubordination to the constituted authority within the commission.”
The Internal memo signed by the Head of Department, Human Resources in the commission, Husseini Dauda, added that “the correspondence is riddled with discourteous language and contains outright lies, threats and falsification which are unbecoming of staff of the SEC.
“It has also come to the management’s attention that you invited and interacted with media practitioners, encouraging them to report false information that could undermine the commission and sabotage the capital markets and Nigerian economy.”
The memo then asked the union leaders to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against them within 48 hours.