The long-awaited accreditation of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) Training School programmes, leading to the award of Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma in Cultural Administration will soon be actualized as preparations have gone to advanced stage.

Executive Secretary of NICO, Mallam Ado Muhammed Yahuza disclosed this on Thursday, July 1, 2021 during a meeting with officers on Grade Level 13 and above at the Institute’s Headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to him, there were numerous efforts made by his predecessors towards the accreditation of the Institute’s training programmes to no avail due to unavailability of funds but through networking and the fact that the money required for the accreditation process was captured in the 2021 budget, the Institute has been scheduled by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) for the first workshop to hold this month.

Yahuza further disclosed that already, payment for kick-starting the accreditation process has also been made by the Institute and once the first and second workshops to be organized by NBTE are completed, NICO will receive her certificate of accreditation by October, 2021.

He maintained that once the certificate is issued, the Institute will be on advantage because its training programmes will become very competitive where people will rush to enrol for the programmes, knowing that the certificate will fetch them either promotion in their places of work or give them a qualification to proceed for higher learning. To him, once private students start enrolling for the programme, it will help to further increase the Institute’s visibility.

Earlier speaking, the ES expressed regrets over Management’s inability to holder regular meetings with members of staff as promised on assumption of duty, blaming it on the COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted government activities in recent times. He had this to say, “I believe that a meeting between Management and Staff is a better way of relating in administration because it is an opportunity to intimate you on what we are doing and also hear your complains so that we can do something better”.

“I decided to have this meeting with officers on Grade Level 13 and above because apart from Top Management, an Officer on Level 13 upward should be a very senior staff because by the time you are an Assistant Director or Deputy Director, you are already a Management Staff and you can be sent anywhere to represent the ES, your Director or any other person and your ability to understand the nitty-gritty of the organisation becomes very paramount here”.

Speaking on how departments are structured in the Institute, the ES said “When I came, I saw the need to look at a lot of things particularly with the Admin department so as to make it more effective in terms of work and add value to what we have as an Institution. We had to change the name of the Admin department from Admin and Human Resources to Human Resource Management which is in line with global best practices”.

“Also, some units were wrongly placed. For instance, Legal Unit is supposed to be under the ES Office directly and anybody heading the Unit must be a Lawyer. The issues of pension were under the Legal Unit and we have pulled it out to form part of mainstream administrative work”.

On utilization of Life Insurance by Staff, Yahuza said while most staff were not accessing funds domiciled with the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHSOF), since he assumed duty, he has set up a desk in the Pension Unit where an Officer has been assigned to liaise with the OHSOF to ensure that every member of staff who dies in service, his or her family can access the funds, stressing that we are all entitled to Life Insurance as government workers.

On payment of burial expenses for deceased staff, the NICO ES said since November last year, he had authorized the payment of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000) to each next of kin of deceased staff upon presentation of a letter of administration. According to him, there is cash currently available for payment for two deceased staff but their next of kin are yet to present letters of administration.

He further informed that the facelift that the building housing the Institute’s headquarters in Abuja has received since he came on board is in recognition of the fact the first thing any visitor will see is the environment which tells a lot about an organisation and what it stands for, hence his resolve to ensure the office has an appealing look which will soon be extended to the Lagos Office too.

Yahuza also assured that despite limited resources, Management remains committed to the training and welfare needs of staff, stating that some staffs have already gone on training since he came and will continue as scheduled. He however enjoined staff to remain dedicated to work as management is doing everything possible to cater for their welfare needs and logistics.

Other Management Staff present during the meeting were; Mrs. Brigitte Yerima (Director, Training School); Mr. Alex Omijie (Director, Orientation & Cultural Affair); Mr. Herbert Ogbe (Head, Finance & Accounts); Mr. Mohammad Ismaila (Deputy Director, Training School); Mrs. Francisca Okoro (Deputy Director, Orientation); Mr. Okorodudu Uremu (Assistant Director/Head, Audit); Alhaji Ndaman (Assistant Director, HRM); and Mrs. Doris Onuoha (Assistant Director).

Caleb Nor

Media Asst.-ES