President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to immediately terminate the appointment of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah for unleashing impunity, corrupt practices, high handedness, injustice and nepotism on staff of the ministry since assuming office in 2015.
Workers under the aegis of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has requested made this appeal yesterday when they staged a protest at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
The ministry’s chapter of ASCN also accused the minister of duplicating and wasting resources through the creation of the Nigerian Office of Trade Negotiation (NOTN) based on false memo or advice to the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
‘’Today, the minister has also killed the Trade Department and rendering Commercial and Trade Officers redundant,’’ they said.
Chairman of the association of the ministry, Comrade Okonkwo Onwurah, made this disclosure during the protest.
Onwurah said, ‘’We are also demanding that all outstanding payments since 2014 till date be prioritised on first come first serve basis for payments, training and welfare needs of workers must be concluded before the end of December 2018.
They also demanded that services of consultants be withdrawn with immediate effect, while timely conduct of promotion exercise should be observed.
“ All cases of conversion and upgrading pending in the ministry and with Head of Service (HOS) and FSCS should be worked on to ease off delays,” they added.
Onwurah further expressed concern that the minister has equally allowed impunity and maladministration to continue in the human resources department of the ministry.
He said more worrisome was the fact that the minister was allegedly attempting to privatise Calabar and Kano Free Trade Zones under the management of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) and floating a private company —Nigeria Special Economic Zones Company Ltd (NSEZCO) using public funds to take over the functions of NEPZA .
The workers also urged government to reinstate Barr. Keftin Amuga as the bonafide director/chief registrar recognised by the Head of Service, Federal Civil Service Commission and the civil service rule.
Also speaking, the chairman, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NEPZA Unit, Comrade Samari Yakubu Isah, disclosed that the association has to formally write President Muhammadu Buhari on August 7, 2018, having seen the impunity and corruption the minister was perpetrating in the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) established with Decree no, 63 of 1992 now NEPZA Act Cap 20, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004 (LN).
According to Isah, despite the powers granted NEPZA by section 4 of the Act, and previous administration’s resolve to give the powers to the agency to handle the implementation of the nation’s drive towards industrialisation by accelerating the speedy implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) through the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and the attainment of the Economic Recovering Growth Plan (ERGP) , the minister has allegedly put in place plans to privatise the frees trade zones to his private company.
He noted, ‘’It is also shocking that despite the existence of NEPZA board of directors, the minister has not officially communicated his proposal to privatise the two public zones mentioned earlier to members of the board , it is clear from this deliberate act of omission that the minister has decided to usurp the powers and mandate of the Authority which completely violates the extant laws.’’