Bauchi Inv’t Corp workers picket premises over allegations against MD
Workers of the Bauchi Investment Corporation (BIC) yesterday picketed the company’s premises over their row with its management, vowing not to resume work until Thursday.
The protesters are accusing the BIC’s Managing Director, Alhaji Abubakar Sule Katagum, of allegedly flouting the company’s established rules in handling its affairs.
The workers had, in a notice dated October 16, 2015 signed by the company’s Secretary, Domestic Committee, Kayellawos Yohanna Iliyaý, threatened to take the action to press home their demands.
The notice, which was copied to the Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Bauchi chapter and made available to journalists, read, “The staff of Bauchi Investment Corporation Ltd have resolved to lock the company’s premises from Monday to Wednesday (Oct. 19-21) as a means of drawing attention to our previous persisting problems.”
They demanded that Katagum be sacked for what they alleged as his “lack of adherence to rules and disrespect for board members and management staff.
“He does not stay in the officeý most of the time to provide administrative supervision, policy directives and approvals. He represents the company in various organisations with virtually no feedback to the company,” they stated.
The MD was also accused by the workers of alleged lack of financial prudence, which they maintained led to the company’s inability not to earn profits. Again, Katagum was held responsible for the management’s unwillingness to recapitalise the BIC Microfinance Bank (BIC-MB), adding they suspected that proceeds from the sales of BIC-MB shares was not channeled through the company’s accounts.
The workers listed lack of adequate renumeration, staff career non-development and industrial disharmony among the myriads of problems they have been facing for years. They said the company has been unable to pay salaries as at when due, or meet up with pension, social insurance and tax deduction remittances, which they claimed led to the closure of the company by the FIRS.
However in his reaction via telephone on Sunday, Katagum debunked the allegations, calling them “mischievous” and an attempt to discredit him by some elements who had been behind many of his efforts to reposition the company.
“The allegations are all acts of mischief. They have never officially called my attention to anything. All what I know is that they have been resisting my initiatives in order to frustrate my efforts. This thing began since the last administration of Mallam Isah Yuguda. The last time we had a board meeting, they met Babayo Shehu and told him and he insisted that they must inform me because I was not around at the time.
“He said they should inform me whenever I came back, but they didn’t tell me anything. I even asked them whether there is any problem when we had a meeting with them after I came back. All the work that we did at the investment, they protested against it. They even petitioned the present administration saying that I am hiding some things from them, which is not true. They also objected to the opening of our Lagos office,” he said.
He added that he had carried out many reforms in the company, including the building of structures and investments, which he said the workers had objected to but have started yielding fruits and which the company would be gettingý profits from.
“We recently secured a licence to trade in securities. All I know is that their allegations are baseless and they have never forwarded anything to me concerning the allegation they raised against me,” he added.