18th July, 2012
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
Staff of Veterinary Council of Nigeria occupying their staff quarters located at Byazin, Kubwa in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory have protested against attempts by the Council to compromise their rights over Federal Government’s monetisation policy as it affects their staff quarters.
The Council allegedly refused to comply with the directive of the Federal Government on the monetisation policy by not allowing the staff occupying the quarters to purchase their houses as done in other establishments.
In a protest letter dated 11th July and addressed to the Honourable Minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, the affected staff alleged that the Council adopted frustrating measures against some of their staff members who cooperated with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in uncovering various fraudulent activities perpetrated by management which led to the arraignment and trial of the ousted Registrar, Dr. Daniel Garba Maddo, a former Director of Finance, Dr. Hilary Ibe and former Administrative officer, Mr. Alexander Abafi over a N90.8 million scam at the Council.
The aggrieved staff members informed the Minister that the Ad Hoc Committee on Sale of Federal Government Houses in Abuja had advertised the houses in the Council’s quarters in line with the provisions of the guidelines on the sale of Federal Government houses and that they, as occupants were given the right of first refusal as prescribed by the law.
They however claim that after making part payment for their flats, that the management surreptitiously embarked on fraudulent moves to illegally convert the quarters to hostels as a way of denying them the benefit of acquiring the property.
They also alleged that their efforts to complete their payment has been made impossible by the Council leading to their institution of court actions for the FCT Administration to affirm the sale of the property in compliance with the Federal Government monetisation policy.
Drawing the attention of the Minister to the moves by the Council to subvert the completed action of the sale of the property to the affected staff, the staff members called on the Minister not to allow his office to be misled into interfering in a matter that is undergoing judicial determination in suits FHC/ABJ/CS/417/2010 and FHC/ABJ/CS/673/2011, so as not to undermine the judicial process in view of the rule of law principle of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
They also pointed out that the clandestine move to change the staff quarters of the Council which is occupied by staff members of the Council for decades, into hostels for a yet to be established institution is fraudulent and calculated to inflict hardship and pains on staff who assisted in the uncovering of massive fraudulent practices by the management.
The letter to the FCT Minister was accompanied by letter of offer issued to the affected staff members by the FCT Administration in respect of their respective flats as well as the land documentation with which the Council acquired the land for the construction of staff quarters for the Council’s staff members.
The former Registrar of the Council, Dr Maddo and two others were arraigned in March, 2011 on a 14 counts charge bordering on criminal breach of trust wherein they were alleged to have conspired and dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N90.8 million belonging to the Veterinary Council of Nigeria and there by committing an offence punishable under section 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, Abuja, 1990.