Director’s premature retirement causes stir in Labour Institute

AN uneasy calm has taken over the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, over the reported premature retirement of a director in the institute by its immediate past Director-General.

The development, Sunday Tribune gathered, has been generating ripples in the institution and its parent body, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The affected staffer, one Mrs Modina Omolara Folorunso, who was until her reported retirement in December 2015 a director in the institute’s Training Faculty, Sunday Tribune sources stated, had cause to write a petition to the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, protesting her treatment, which she described as “an unfair labour practice and victimisation.”

Inside sources said the development had been taken up by even Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRAI), which has vowed to push for her reinstatement by even taking the use to the National Industrial Court.

According to them, the problem had started in December 2015, when the immediate past Director-General of the institute, Dr John Olanrewaju, retired Mrs Folorunso, who was the most senior director that should have taken over from him in acting capacity, citing a directive of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment that Folorunso did not “possess the minimum academic requirement required for lateral conversion as a director on CONRAISS 15 to academic officer cadre” and that based on the now suspended Public Service Rules 020810 that “a director shall compulsorily retire upon serving eight years on the post.”

The sources, however, stated that Folorunso should not have been retired, noting that as a staffer in the Training/Education Faculty of the institute, who became a director due to appointment rather than promotion, the public service rule should not have applied to her.

When contacted, the President of the Senior Staff Association of University Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRAI), Dr Benjamin Akintola, said the association had been on Mrs Folorunso’s case for some time, noting that it has instructed its lawyers to proceed to the National Industrial Court for appropriate action on the matter.

According to Akintola, in a telephone chat with Sunday Tribune, “when the immediate past DG was retiring from the institute, he handed over to an officer that he liked, instead of handing over to the next officer in line in terms of seniority. With the connivance of some ministry officials, he was able to do that and he hid under the public service rule that directors that have spent up to eight years should retire. But that rule does not affect directors in research institutes, because they are regarded as academic staff.