The Defense Industries of Nigeria (DICON) staff members staged a protest in Kaduna over unpaid emoluments and other dissatisfactions. Protesters reportedly set up a blockage at the entryway and prevented anyone from entering the Kakuri Ordnance Factory Complex, where the headquarters are located. Staff are said to be disgruntled over unpaid arrears promotions, incentives of promotions from 2016 – 2019, and even this year’s minimum salary and the recently implemented forty percent rise in their unique allowance.
Observable fury and discontent are said to have been building up among the staff members in Kaduna, for a while now due to a number of outstanding emoluments and other benefits. An anonymous senior military officer who is familiar with the issue in the establishment has said that things at DICON have been less than perfect for years. He speculated that either DICON’s top management is concealing information or the Ministry of Finance is compromising the corporation. According to the senior military officer, delaying payment of promotion arrears has been standard practice within the corporation.
Corporation’s staff are not granted their full entitlements.
He elaborated saying that occasionally bonuses aren’t paid out until two years after a promotion has been given. When such payments are made, the corporation’s staff are not granted their full entitlements, and no adequate justification is provided. Nobody on staff, no matter how oppressed they feel, is permitted to speak up. Staff who are deemed to be excessively outspoken and combative are swiftly dealt with by being transferred to the company’s non-functional plant in Bauchi or to the explosives facility in Jebba, Niger State.
In an extreme circumstance, an employee’s mental health was subjected to questioning due to the fact he refused to concede or back down from an altercation. He was thereafter forcibly admitted into the psychiatric hospital in Barnawa against his will. Even though he was subsequently reinstated to his previous position, the source claimed that the other employees were aware of the management’s action against him and were unwilling to risk the same humiliation.
150 staff were paid a demeaning N80,000 instead of N280,000.
A member of DICON’s top management team said that promotions for a select group of employees that occurred in 2016 went through without a hitch. While employees did receive their promotion letters, they did not receive the associated arrears in a timely fashion. And afterwards, when the arrears pay was made, the employees found out that 40 percent of their emoluments were not paid. The impacted employees were swiftly suppressed and no explanation was offered.
During the 2019 promotion exercise, as anticipated, staff were promoted without the associated financial rewards. Staff members were given the biggest shock of their life when they found out that just 58% of their past due pay had been paid. More than 150 staff at the corporation were paid a demeaning N80,000 instead of the N280,000 in promotion arrears they were owed for 2020. Staff employees who felt they had been treated unfairly were threatened and told they should consider themselves fortunate to have received any compensation.
Funds meant for the 2019 arrears had been released to the management.
There are rumours circulating that some staff members who were expecting to receive promotion arrears will only be receiving one-third of what they are entitled to without any further complaints. However, after a discrete probing it was revealed that funds meant for the 2019 minimum wage arrears for the corporation had already been released to the management. It is worth noting that other parastatals have already received their own arrears. This information was affirmed by the Minister for Finance, Hajjia Zainab Ahmed, as she reiterated that the incumbent administration has paid all outstanding promotion and minimum wage arrears.