NiMET staff, DG set for showdown over alleged conversion of staff quarters to personal property




Posted by Sade Williams



Controversy is brewing at the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) following the allegations levelled against Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi, the Director-General of the agency that he had allegedly converted the expanse of land meant for staff quarters at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja to personal use.



The staff accused Mashi of selling the landed property to the workers, claiming that the property in question was allocated to the staff by the Federal Government, just as such gesture was given to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other agencies in the sector in Abuja.




The staff claimed that they had planned to develop the virgin land until Mashi allegedly changed the papers at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), brought developers to the land in his name and attempted to sell such to staff at exorbitant rates.




A document made available to reporters with the heading: ‘Offer of One (1) Housing Unit in Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi Housing Estate, Located at Aviation District, Abuja,’ indicated that a 3 bedroom terrace at the estate is sold to staff at N16,560,211.31 by Mashi.




The document, which emanated from the NiMET Staff Multipurpose Co-operative Society (NSMCS) and signed by its Chairman, Mr. Haleed Dass, said that payment on the allocated property would be deducted from their monthly salary.




The memo also declared that “purchaser must meet all qualifying requirements for National Housing Fund Loan.



“Any outright payment or outstanding balance (in the case of retirees, etc) of the cost of the house shall be negotiated and agreed upon between the purchaser and the co-operative.



“All purchasers are under the obligation to pay charges which include maintenance fees, security, estate permit, rates, levies and any other charges that may be imposed by relevant government agencies or authorities including NiMET staff multipurpose cooperative society limited from time to time.”



But, the workers through the unions purported that the large parcel of land was the property of NiMET staff and wondered why Mashi would convert such to his personal property.




A source close to the unions, confided in our correspondent that Mashi about three months ago through the cooperative, deducted the sum of N25, 000 each from the salary of workers for beacon, saying that the land was going to be property of NMET, but alleged that barely two months after the collection of the sum, the DG changed it to his personal estate under Abubakar Mashi Housing Estate.




The source purported that the property is handled by the cronies of Mashi, which had led to agitation among the staff of the workers.




However, in a bid to address the issue, all the unions in NiMET on October 17, 2019, held a congress in Abuja and severely kicked against the position of the management on the landed property.




The Joint Working Committee of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Association of Aviation Professionals (ANAP), in another document made available to our correspondent, directed the workers to stay action on the letter of allocation made available to them through its staff multipurpose cooperative society.




The unions in their resolutions, which were signed by Aloo Adesina, Uzor Samuel and Samson Ambore, the AUPCTRE, NUATE and ANAP, respectively, said that members who didn’t subscribe to the scheme should be refunded of their initial subscription fees from NiMET cooperative.




The unions in another letter dated October 10, 2019 with the reference number: JAC/001/AUPCTRE/NUATE/ANAP insisted that they were never involved at any stage of negotiation before the issuance of the landed property, stressing that they were not also comfortable with the forms and conditions in the quoted document.




Meanwhile, Mr. Muntari Ibrahim, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NiMET said that the landed property was solely for staff.



He said that preparations were ongoing for the development of the land between NiMET, the cooperative and private developers.




He added: “More so, the Director-General is not even involved in handling such.”

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