Stay Away From Office Or We Throw You Out, NECO Staff Warn Registrar
The Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), Professor Promise Okpala, has incurred the wrath of his subordinates who has warned him not to resume in his office next week Monday, as they are prepared to boot him out.
Those spoiling for war are members of the National Union of Non Academic Staff of Universities and Allied Institution (NASU) and National Examinations Council (NECO) chapter. They have placed a caveat that unless the Federal Ministry of Education announces Prof. Okpala's reappointment before that Monday deadline, he would not be reconsidered for the job.
Huhuonline.com learnt that Professor Okpala is facing serious problems now because the staff had not only lost confidence in his administration, they have been at loggerheads for several years over the Registrar's refusal for them to belong to a union. The staff accused him of high-handedness in the governing the Council.
The union crisis within the Council had begun since 2005 in the matter of trade dispute Number IAP/HB/3744 between Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) and three other examination bodies - Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), National Examinations Council (NECO) and National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB).
The dispute, which was handled at the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) by Hassan Muhammed Lawal, who was the Minister of Labour and Productivity, on August 15, 2005, was won by the non-academic staff and the three bodies were ordered to allow NASU unfettered right to unionise the workers of their establishments throughout the federation. There was also an order of perpetual injunction restraining NECO, JAMB and NABTEB from intimidating, threatening or victimising any of their workers in any manner whatsoever on the grounds that such workers(s) decide to participate or actually participated in trade union activities with NASU.
JAMB had since then approved union activities for its staff while NECO has stubbornly rebuffed the order and had continued to intimidate its staff anytime they raised the issue. This resulted in the forceful transfer of 24 members of staff, who had continued to champion the course of union activities in the Council.
The staff, according to investigation, had waited patiently for the expiration of his tenure as Registrar and this happened on April 9, but that he had continued to carry on with the job as if nothing was wrong. Moreover, the Ministry of Education had refused to approve a second term for him or replace him.
The Chairman of the union in the Council, Lawal Rabana, in a statement made available to the public, said that right from the expiration of his tenure, there had been tension in the Council located in Minna, Niger state as a result of the silence by the Ministry of Education on the issue.
The staff asked the Registrar to remember that in his last five years of being at the Council's helms of affair, there had been no meaningful development, growth and progress in the Council. They believe this is partially why the Ministry had refused to approve him for another term and therefore warned him to stay away from office beginning from next week.
The union said in the statement: "Professor Promise Okpala has not added any value to NECO and Nigerian children need someone without credibility question to shape their future. We urge the honourable Minister of Education to get more involved in NECO's affairs in order to re-channel it towards the aspirations of its founding fathers."