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Monday, May 25, 2009

NITEL workers to recover N1.1bn from First Bank

... Give 7-day ultimatum

Embattled Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) workers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC) Thursday in Abuja gave the management of First Bank Nigeria Plc seven-day ultimatum within which to clear a $7 million debt (about N1.1billion) owed the organisation or face the wrath of the workers who are poised to prevent the bank from carrying usual statutory services to its customers, reports AUSTIN ASHAMU.

The group in a letter addressed to the Managing Director of the bank which was made available to ITRealms Online weekend, SSACTAC said the in-house union is left with no option than to issue a seven day notice to the bank to clear the matter for both parties interest to avoid crisis.  

According to the letter signed by the President and Deputy President of the Association, Comrades E.Y. Kazzah and Gabriel Abah, they said the debt accrued from non remittances of collection, unauthorised debits of account and letters of credits not completely drawn with the bank since 2002.

The union recalled that NITEL appointed financial consultants to screen and recover the monies. The consultants have established that First Bank as a consequence of the above reasons owes NITEL Plc monies running into millions, though it is disputed by First Bank.

“Several meetings, reconciliations and negotiations have been held with the management of the First Bank towards resolving this issue for years running now,” it said.

The union stated that the NITEL management at one point sought for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), but the matter is yet to be resolved.
 
“In spite of all the effort, it has come to our understanding that First Bank Plc is still foot-dragging and has not displayed the willingness to resolve these issues diplomatically. NITEL staff are being owed 11 months salary arrears and this money will go a long way to ameliorate their sufferings,” the union said.
 
Further, the letter stated that after the seven days ultimatum, and the debt is not cleared, the workers would paralyze activities in all First Bank offices nationwide. 

Meanwhile, all the effort to reach the management of First Bank and precisely Mr. Steven Omanufeme, of the Brand Management Corporate Planning and Group Coordination at the bank proved abortive, at the weekend, as he was not responding to phone calls.

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