Polytechnic graduates and other holders of the Higher National Diploma (HND) have dragged the Federal Government before a Federal High Court, seeking to compel government to put an end to discrimination against them in career progression in public service.
In the suit filed before the National Industrial Court, Abuja, the plaintiffs are particularly, challenging what they called the discrimination against them in career progression in public service.
The originating summons was filed by Garba Bello, Babatunde Samuel, Jubril Kadiri, Christiana Owolabi, Chuba Umechukwu and Fatima Ahmed for themselves and on behalf of HND holders in public service.
Listed as defendants are the National Council on Establishments (NCE), Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
The claimants want the court to among others, order the defendants to implement directives contained in the Government White Paper on the report of the Presidential Committee on the Consolidation of Emoluments in the Public Sector.
In a supporting affidavit, Bello averred that President Olusegun Obasanjo had, in 2004 and 2005 embarked on public sector reform and constituted a committee that addressed the disparities in the public service.
He added that a White Paper Committee was set up in 2007 for the consolidation of public service’ employees’ emoluments, and that in 2008 an Implementation Committee was also set up, which made recommendations.
According to him despite these “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.
Hearing in the case was stalled yesterday by an application for time to file a reply, made by lawyer to the HCSF, A.K. Kamar.
He said the office of his client was not aware that the case was fixed for Friday.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer, Nnaemeka Ejiofor told the court that despite their competence, HND holders in public service were not allowed to rise beyond Grade Level 14 as against their colleagues who are university graduates.