Wike, FCT Minister: How will he handle the rebellious MD?
There was palpable confusion at the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) secretariat, located in Area 11, Abuja on Wednesday as one of the managing director/chief executive officers of an agency, under the administration, refused to hand over even after being sacked last week by the minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike.
Recall that the FCT minister had last Wednesday relieved heads of 21 agencies and government companies of the FCTA of their appointments with immediate effect.
Some of the affected heads include, the MD/CEO, Abuja investment Company Ltd, CEO/MD, Abuja Markets Management Ltd, MD/CEO, Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company, CEO/MD, Abuja Property Development Company and CEO/MD Abuja Technology Village Free Trade Zone Company, among others.
A statement by the director of press in the office of FCT minister, Anthony Ogunleye, directed the affected heads to hand over the affairs of their offices to the most senior officers in rank, while appointments into the offices will be made in due course.
However, a visit to the corporate office of the Abuja Markets Management Ltd (AMML) located at Adisa Plaza in Gudu district, Garki Abuja, on Wednesday shows that the managing director/chief executive officer of the agency, Abubakar Usman Faruk, has not handed over to the most senior staff of the company as directed by the FCT minister.
Our reporter gathered that the managing director has continued to report for duties, one week after his sack from office, even as he continued to sit tight and attend to official matters against the directive.
It was further learnt that the embattled head of the agency has equally engaged and surrounded himself with private security operatives and thugs, who have continued to guard the officer and harass anybody they suspect to be an intruder into the premises.
Our reporter, who made efforts to see and speak with the managing director was told that the officer was not ‘on seat’ at the time of the visit, but would soon be available, but he did come back before press time, even as text messages and calls sent to his phone were not replied.
It was learnt that Mr. Faruk is relying on a judgment from Federal High Court to the effect that the FCT minister has no power to redeploy him let alone sack him, in line with the Company and Allied Matters Act.
It was gathered that Mr. Faruk was appointed by the then Minister FCT Adamu Aliero, 14 years ago and was redeployed by the immediate past FCT Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello, three years ago, but has continued to function as the CEO of this government-owned company.
He had gone to court to challenge his redeployment on learning that Bello had approved his sack at the twilight of the Buhari Administration and came back with a judgment, stating that he remains a director of AMML and that he could not be removed without due process.
Responding to the judgment, the company’s shareholders in an Extra ordinary General Meeting in July 17, 2023, sacked Abubakar Faruk as the Managing Director of AMML.
Again, Faruk came back with an injunction from the National Industrial Court restraining anyone from sacking him, days after he was duly relieved of his job as the MD/CEO.
It would be recalled that this was part of several actions that has thrown the market management Company into crisis, leading to protests by staff and traders across markets and calling on the FCT Permanent Secretary to use his office to ensure the removal of the embattled MD.
Sources close to the Company told our reporter that the company has since then been factionalized between those for and those against Abubakar Faruk.
“Whereas a few of the staff followed him in his ignominy, the rest of the staff had to vacate the office and are now currently operating from one of the market offices following the Abuja Investment Company Limited (AICL)’s takeover of its markets, hitherto under the management of AMML.
“Abu Faruk has ‘dismissed’ all the staff who had opposed his continued stay as the life MD of the organization and published their pictures, hired men, bearing arms to man the office with an order to shoot any one of the dismissed staff at sight”.
It was also learnt that Mr. Faruk’s lawyers were in court today filing fresh motions on one of the pending court cases an indication that he will not comply with the ministerial directive any time soon.
The head of department, corporate services of the agency, Ibrahim Yahaya-Joe, told our reporter, “Who told you that our managing director has not handed over?
“Did you see him in the office now. Whoever told you that our MD has not handed over should come and investigate it by himself. Let me inform you that our managing director is a very law-abiding citizen of the FCT.”
But the public relations officer of AMML, Innocent Amaechina, said he is not aware that the embattled managing director of the agency has handed over to anyone, as directed by FCT minister.
“We are aware of some impending court cases involving the embattled managing director, and we are also aware of the ministerial directive.
“The most senior person in AMML today is the general manager, Engr. Abbas Yakubu, and as we speak, he has not told us that anybody has handed over to him,” he said.