UPDATE: workers accuse Bello-Koko of sitting on their housing grants
Some senior staff of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) have accused the Managing Director, Mohammed Bello-Koko of refusing to release the housing grants approved for them by the Authority’s Board of Directors.
Documents made available to SHIPS & PORTS by some of the aggrieved staff show that the NPA Board at its meeting of July 15, 2021 held at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, approved one-year total annual gross emolument as housing grant “for employees that have served meritoriously for 30 years and above”.
The Board resolution was formally conveyed to the NPA Managing Director by the then Board Secretary/Legal Adviser, I.G. Umar via a departmental memorandum with reference number HQ/SEC/B/OP/B.11/216 and dated 16th July 2021.
The Board also increased the workers’ end of year bonus from 5% to 7.5% of total annual gross salary including furniture allowance. This is in addition to approving assistance for the family of deceased employees. The burial assistance include transportation of the corpse and transportation of registered family members at the rate of N250,000 for distance below 300km and N500,000 for distance above 300km, among other benefits.
However, some of the workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the NPA Managing Director is flouting the Board resolution on the housing grant by refusing to release it to the workers that are entitled to it.
“I have served for almost 34 years. I will be due for retirement next year yet the management has refused to pay my housing grant. Some of my colleagues that retired last year and this year have not been paid. It is very unfair how the present executive management team has been treating us,” one of the workers, who did not want his identity revealed over fear of victimisation by the NPA management, told SHIPS & PORTS.
Another worker, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said the present NPA executive management prefer awarding multibillion naira contracts and “buying expensive cars for themselves” at the expense of workers’ welfare.
This is the unfortunate situation that we have found ourselves. They kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. How else do you explain the way and manner the present executive management team members have been shabbily treating workers? The problem is that all of them don’t have good administrative experience. They were brought into the system by political godfathers and placed above career officers, so they don’t understand what it means to work for 30 years and above in an organisation like NPA and steadily rise through the ranks.
“I am appealing to the Honourable Minister of Transportation, who was a career civil servant until his retirement, to direct the Managing Director to release the housing grant due to me and my colleagues. The economy is tough. Salary is no longer anything to write home about because of inflation. Even the so-called salary review they did recently is nothing to write home about because the increase is not substantial enough to call for celebration. The least they can do is to release our housing grant to us to enable us afford decent housing for ourselves and our family but they refused.
They were, however, quick to implement the approval for burial assistance. I think that is mischievous. They should give us what is due to us while we are still alive before talking of assisting with our burial when we die,” the staff said.
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