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Workers picket SON, ground business over alleged corruption, welfare

Workers picketed the Abuja office of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on Tuesday over allegations of corruption, irregular promotion of newly recruited staff and poor welfare of staff.

Daily Trust monitored the protest and observed that the placards-bearing protesters, under the umbrella of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), grounded business activities at the organisation.

The Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory Council of AUPCTRE, Comrade Aliyu Maradun, told journalists that the Director General of SON, Osita Aboloma, had been involved in contract scams, including awarding multiple contracts and contract splitting.

Com. Maradun said, “We are aware of people who were employed here and under six months they were promoted more than five times, and there are people here who have spent 20 years; stagnated. Some people are on secondment and have refused to go at the detriment of the people here who are supposed to occupy their positions.”

He demanded the intervention of the EFCC and ICPC into the operations of the organisation, an improved workers’ welfare and the implementation of the directive of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment on voluntarism.

The President of the SON branch of the Senior Staff Association of the Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), Ayodele Folayan, dismissed the allegations of AUPCTRE, describing the protest as “uncalled for.”

Folayan said there was an ongoing process to resolve issues relating to welfare of workers and therefore urged the protesters to return to the negotiating table.

The spokesman of SON, Mr. Bola Fashina, said the protesters disrespected the directive of the labour ministry on voluntarism and not SON. For instance, on the issue of promotion arrears, Mr. Fashina said budgetary allocation had been made and added that the amount provided had already been approved in the 2019 budget by the National Assembly.

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