Former chief executives, union and retirees of the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) yesterday told the former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Nasir el-Rufa’i to hide his face in shame for the destruction he brought to the national telecommunications carrier.

They also urged the federal government to hold the former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) solely responsible for this monumental national loss.

Former Managing Director of MTEL, the GSM arm of NITEL, Engr Kunle Bello, who claimed to have voluntarily resigned so as to avoid meeting the much-touted new managers, Pentascope, said that he foresaw the collapse of NITEL/MTEL due to insincere and inconsistent implementation of policies by the el-Rufa’i and BPE.

He described the Pentascope management brought in by el-Rufa’i as an irredeemable misfortune to the telecommunications industry and an unmitigated disaster on NITEL/MTEL staff who have been dying one after another due to non-payment of pensions.

Bello, an ITU telecommunications expert, said that Pentascope squandered more than N100billion of NITEL’s hard-earned money, besides the loss of revenue without adding a single telephone line.

He challenged the nation’s judicial and executive arms of government to rise to the occasion and absolve themselves of blame by going after the perpetrators of the fraud.

In a statement the retirees of the company signed and issued in Abuja, yesterday, they dismissed allegations by el-Rufa’i that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar approved the appointment of Pentascope to manage NITEL in 2003.

They said that el-Rufa’i must be held responsible not only for the collapse of NITEL, but also the destruction of their careers.

The ex-staff insisted that the issue at stake was beyond the debate of who signed and who did not sign the approval document.
“The issue is who issued or originated the memorandum to the National Council on Privatisation (NCP)?