The Higher National Diploma (HND) holders working in the nation’s public sector have filed a motion before the National Industrial Court, in Abuja, challenging their discrimination in career progression in the public service.
The matter, which came up for hearing last Friday, was stalled, following an application seeking an extension of time to file a reply by A.K. Kamar, who appeared for the Head of Service of the Federation (HOSF) Kamar said that his office was not aware that the matter will be heard on that day.
The President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, who presided over the matter, then ordered the defence counsel to regularise their replies and file same before the next adjourned date of September 18, 2014.
The originating summons, brought by Garba Bello, Babatunde Samuel, Jubril Kadiri, Christiana Owolabi, Chuba Umechukwu and Fatima Ahmed on behalf of members of the association also listed the National Council on Establishments and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as defendants.
The claimants want the court to make an order directing the defendants to implement the directives of the Government White Paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Consolidation of Emoluments in the Public Sector.
While making an appeal for speedy hearing of the matter, their counsel, Nnaemeka Ejiofor told the court that HND holders in public service are not allowed to rise beyond Grade Level-14, as against their B.Sc colleagues, no matter their competence.
After the hearing, the President of Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering (NATE), Leo Okereke explained that all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have continued to discriminate against HND holders in the public service.
In his averment, Garba Bello said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in 2004 and 2005 embarked on public sector reform and constituted a committee that addressed the disparities in the public service.
He maintained that despite its “recommendations and conclusions, the applicants and other holders of the HND certificates are still being discriminated against and still suffer at the various work places”.