Nigeria

Seven aides of the minister have allegedly resigned over similar disputes

Seven aides of the minister have allegedly resigned over similar disputes

Two former aides of Adebayo Shittu on Tuesday dragged the Communications minister before the National Industrial Court (NIC) in Abuja for allegedly owing them N21.5 million in salaries and allowances.

The plaintiffs are the former Personal Assistant to the minister, Razaq Olubodun, and Special Assistant on Media, Victor Oluwadamilare.

In their separate suits filed by their counsel, Adewale Lawal, the two prayed the court to order the minister to pay them the claim.

Mr Olubodun, in his suit numbered NICN/Abj/132/2019, is seeking to recover N9.8 million from Mr Shittu, being his salaries and allowances for 24 months. He said the federal government paid the money to the minister alongside his salaries.

PREMIUM TIMES gathered that more than seven aides of the Minister have resigned due to issues bordering on nonpayment of salaries and allowances.

Mr Olubodun had also resigned over the salaries issue.

Mr Oluwadamilare in his suit, NICN/Abj/133/2019, is claiming N11.7million, being his alleged outstanding salaries and allowances for 28 months.

He had also resigned over the dispute.

The two former aides are seeking a declaration of the court that the non-payment of full salaries and allowances for those periods was wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.

They urged the court to order the minister to pay them according to the Federal Government directive for payment of aides to the Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The claimants are asking for an order on the defendant to pay N50million to each of them and to also pay them their full taxed costs of the prosecution of the suits.

They averred that by their letters of appointments as PA and SA respectively, they were informed that their monthly emolument would be in line with the existing practice for paying PA and SA to Hon. Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Though the claimants noted that the above-stated fact was indicated in the ‘paragraph 3′ of their letters of appointments dated 23rd Nov. 2015, the defendant “tried to make the salaries and allowances of PA and SA to Hon. Minister to look like his own personal affairs. The defendant tried to indicate this by an Internal Memo, seven months after the claimants’ appointments”.

While Mr Olubodun claimed to have received just N1m all through his period of service from the Minister, Mr Oluwadamilare said he was paid thrice to the tune of N2.3million in his 28 months of service under the Minister.

The claimants said a circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) dated July 27, 1999, indicated in paragraph 1a that the salaries of PAs and SAs to the Ministers are Grade Levels 12 and 16, step 4 respectively.

They accused the minister of applying “intimidation, harassment, draconian and Machiavellian approach” and threats to take them to court, to ensure they are frustrated.

The claimants said they had been subjected to sufferings, ridicule, and untold hardship as a result of the denial of their rights by the minister.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the case in which the two claimants presented 35 and 40 statements of facts, respectively.

Efforts to reach the minister on Tuesday were unsuccessful as he did not pick calls to his known telephone lines.