Staff of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) are at loggerheads with their director general, Prof. Sani Mashi for allegedly coveting an expanse of land in Abuja meant for staff quarters.
The staff claimed that the property at issue was allocated to the staff by the federal government.
The staff claimed that they had planned to develop the virgin land until Mashi allegedly changed the papers at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and brought developers to the land in his name and attempted to sell such to staff at exorbitant rates.
A document headlined ‘Offer of One (1) Housing Unit in Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi Housing Estate, located at Aviation District, Abuja,’ and obtained by NewsGazette stated that a three-bedroom terrace at the estate is sold to staff atN16, 560, 211. 31.
The document, which emanated from the NiMET Staff Multipurpose Co-operative Society (NSMCS) and signed by its chairman, Mr. Haleed Dass, stated that payment on the allocated property would be deducted from staff monthly salary.
The memo also stated 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 alleged that the large parcel of land was the property of NiMET staff and wondered why the director general would convert such to personal property.
A source close to the unions, who craved anonymity, told NewsGazette that Mashi had, three months earlier through the cooperative, deducted N25, 000 from the salary of each worker for beacon, saying the land was going to be the property of NMET.
However, the source alleged that barely two months after the collection of the sum, Mashi changed the name of the estate to ‘Abubakar Mashi Housing Estate’.
The source also alleged that the property is handled by the director general’s cronies.
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 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, directed the workers to stay action on the letter of allocation sent to them through the multipurpose cooperative society.
The unions in their resolutions, which were signed by Aloo Adesina, Uzor Samuel and Samson Ambore for AUPCTRE, NUATE and ANAP, respectively, said members who did not subscribe to the scheme should be refunded their initial subscription fees from NiMET cooperative.
The unions in another letter dated October 10, 2019 and marked JAC/001/AUPCTRE/NUATE/ANAP insisted that they were never involved at any stage of the negotiation before the issuance of the landed property.
They also said they were not comfortable with the terms and conditions in the quoted document.
Reacting to the issues, spokesman for NiMET, Mr. Muntari Ibrahim, said the landed property was solely for staff.
He said preparations were ongoing for the development of the land between NiMET and private developers.
“More so, the director general is not even involved in handling such.” He added.