Pharma Deko workers protest alleged mismanagement of resources

Employees of Pharma-Deko Plc took to the streets of Agbara Industrial Estate in Agbara, Ogun State, protesting alleged gradual collapse of the company, caused by the the mismanagement of its resources.

The protesting workers led by their various plant union — Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) and National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), called on the company’s board to rise and save the company that is now verge of collapse.

According to the workers, for the past 11 years, they have tolerated the inadequate and multiple failures of the management team led by the Managing Director, Jelili Adekunle Abibu.

The workers, under the umbrella of Joint Staff Union of Pharma Deko, stated that the Abibu leadership has deteriorated significantly, as indicated but not limited to: mismanagement of the sum of N1.6 billion, being proceeds from the sale of the company’s main factory and N230 million Rights Issue.

They noted that the mismanagement has led to accumulated operational loss of N2.4 billion as published on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which resulted in the closure of two plants, with the remaining one running epileptic operations.

Consequently, more than 20 management staff had been forced to resign their appointments, the union said.Chanting solidarity songs with placards bearing inscriptions like “Board of Directors should save our Pharma Deko from destruction”, “Pharma Deko MD, Abibu Adekunle Jelili Must Go”, “Our Mumu Don Do, Enough is Enough” and “The Resourceful Staff Don’t Want To Be Idle”, the protesting workers also stated that the company’s increasing debt profile and non-remittance of statutory deductions — Pensions, Taxes, NSITF, have resulted in poor staff welfare and abnormal turnover, reduction of products basket to non-sellable products, as all Pharma Deko Plc household products are no longer in the market.

All efforts made to speak with management team proved abortive, as some of them who were on ground during the protest refused to speak to The Guardian.

Also, when The Guardian sought comment from the Chief Financial Officer/Head of Internal Audit, Ayinde Bashir Adegboyega, who was with another member of the management team, Ojelabi Dapo Gbenga, the company’s Quality Assurance Manager, they declined, as Adegboyega said: “I have nothing to comment.”

“Unfortunately, our expectations were dashed. Instead the company has gone from bad to worse. Truth is, the inadequacies of the management team led by Mr Jelili Adekunle Abibu and Mr Olukayode Oluwole Isola, Acting General Manager, Production Consumer/Contract, continue to jeopardise the sustainability, growth and expansion of the company, as we believe our company has the potentials to be among the leading company not only in Nigeria but in Africa,” the statement read.

The union, in a statement, said: “When a company folds up in our country, the government is blamed, but we know in most cases that mismanagement is responsible.“Ours is a clear case of mismanagement, hence, we the members of staff — Junior and Senior — have refused to sit down, fold our hands and do nothing, while we watch our company become a history.

“We have pleaded with the Board of Directors to effect a change in the management team, but our plea seems not be honoured, as they have refused to revert despite several appeals and reminders.“Again, all we ask is that the Board of Directors should do the needful, which is change of management and provide the company with new leadership of sound managerial skills.”

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