Police detain ex-Spectranet staff in Abuja as citizens demand justice

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command has detained some former staff of Spectranet.

The citizens are demanding justice, insisting that Spectranet was engaging in high-handedness over a matter they know nothing about.

The workers, recruited for the internet service provider by Volab Consulting Limited, deny Spectranet’s allegation of fraud.

In an SOS to BBNAIJA ONLINE”, one of the dismissed staff, Mathias Apeh said the Abuja branch stopped them from work on April 1, 2021.

Mathias complained that their disengagement benefits and pension clearance remain unapproved, despite an official demand through their lawyer.

Mathias recalled that he joined Spectranet in 2013 and never got any query or warning concerning his sales reports or conduct.

“We sent daily and monthly reports since 2013 but they discovered fraud in 2021. We said they should probe us, our supervisors and Auditors. If we committed fraud, how did our superiors not detect it?

“This is what they sometimes do before dismissing staff. Volab, our employer, did not care to hear our own side of the story. Our letter, which shows disengagement, not sack, was signed by Mr. Olasimoju.

“Since November 2020, the office has laid off up to 20 members of staff but only two of us are yet to get clearance to enable access to pension and disengagement benefits.

“They alleged that we had a shortage in our reports. We said what they are seeing had been that way before we joined Spectranet. This was confirmed by the Auditor in Lagos.

“He called me on phone concerning the same issue. After my explanation, he concluded by saying it was a system error which happened in Lagos, Abuja and Ibadan offices.

“This report is what we do every day before leaving the office. We compile each day’s sales and our head in Abuja cross-checks to ensure accuracy.

“This same report passes through the head at the Lagos office, other officials also check. We did this for 8 years and nobody ever complained until when they decided to lay us off.

“At the end of the year, after stocks are counted and the company declares profit, they give awards to staff who performed well. I collected this award back to back.

“The day the issue was raised, I was asked to count the stock. As I was doing that, a police officer entered to arrest me and my colleague. The office didn’t allow us to finish counting what they claim was not complete.

“At the station, I wrote my statement and was locked up till the following day when I was granted bail. If you want to be fair, why arrest only two persons for what cut across up to 12 staff?

“The police then told Spectranet to provide the people that worked at the Abuja office since inception. They requested the computers we have been reporting with for clarification. Spectranet didn’t comply.

“After that arrest in March, Spectranet took our laptops. They also removed the computers we worked with to God knows where. We have not been to the office since.

“On April 1, we were given disengagement letters. We submitted our Identity and National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards. They refused to clear us for payment of entitlements.

“The Internal Auditor came from Lagos to check the whole thing and still could not find anything against us. In fact, he scrutinized the stock in our absence, against accounting rules.

“They have changed their police report more than four times. When the police told the Auditor to sign under Spectranet’s allegation, he declined, explaining that he joined the company recently.

“The Head of Account in Abuja also did not sign. This was how the matter hooked. The Divisional Police Officer told them that they need enough evidence to charge us.”

Another affected staff, Segun Odugbesan lamented that their families have been suffering for an offence they did not commit.

“Our entitlements were not paid and we are being blocked in accessing our pension trust fund. We carried the fund from our previous workplace.

“It is illegal for Spectranet to wants to block us. Our lawyer served a letter but nothing has been done. It’s been over three months, we need a new job but cannot move on”, Odugbesan said.

The duo recalled that Volab Managing Director, Nike Idowu assured the matter would be resolved but the reverse has been the case.

Responding to a BBNAIJA ONLINE” enquiry, Umesh Budhrani, Spectranet Admin & Human Resource Manager confirmed the case is with the police.

Budhrani said the ongoing investigation is on alleged fraud discovered in the department Mathias and Odugbesan last worked.

The official said given the amount involved, there is a likelihood the duo together with their accomplices will be prosecuted.

“Spectranet requested Volab Consulting Limited to redeploy them pending the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.

“Spectranet is not in any way blocking their pension, it is their legitimate right to access it upon compliance with the requirements for the drawdown.

“It is their employer (Volab Consulting Limited) that will issue them with an Exit Letter addressed to their pension managers for necessary action”, Budhrani explained.

ASP Mariam Yusuf, FCT Police Public Relations Officer was not available for reaction as at press time. A response to a text message sent is being awaited.