SEC workers protest Gwarzo’s reinstatement

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Workers of the Securities and Exchange Commission under the aegis of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, SEC Branch, on Tuesday rejected the judgement of the court reinstating the suspended Director-General, Mr Mounir Gwarzo.

The workers shut the premises of the commission and paralysed business activities on Monday morning but later suspended their industrial action.

Their action followed rumours that Gwarzo would resume office on Monday at the commission following last week’s judgement by the National Industrial Court, which ordered his reinstatement with immediate effect.

The court had also ruled that all his salaries and allowances be paid to him.

Gwarzo had been indicted for abuse of office and corruption by an Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by the Federal Ministry of Finance headed by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.

He was also indicted by the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee, which investigated his suspension by the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

In his ruling, Justice Sanusi Kado held that the minister of finance, who is the second defendant in the suit, lacked the power to suspend Gwarzo, even as he dismissed three issues raised by defence counsel through their preliminary objection, ruling that the suit was not statute-barred.

The workers had, in anticipation that the embattled DG would resume work, shut the premises of SEC, thus preventing anyone from gaining access into the commission.

They displayed banners with various inscriptions such as “Gwarzo must go,” and “We are saying categorically that Gwarzo must go.”

Speaking during an interview with our correspondent, the Chairman, Association of Senior Staff Union, SEC Branch, Nelson Oleghe, said, “The suspended DG of SEC has been on suspension for almost two years following allegations of abuse of office levelled against him.

“The suspended DG was charged to court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission. In all of the court cases, the issue of fraud was not mentioned.”

He said the union decided to hold the protest after an emergency meeting held on Sunday on the issue.

“We believe that an institution that prescribes good corporate governance should be seen taking the lead. We say no to Gwarzo,” he added.

But after shutting the gate for about two hours, the workers decided to open it to allow work to continue.