The Senate, on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 passed a bill seeking to abolish the dichotomy between the Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate and the university degree holders in the country (BA/BSc).
Senator Ayo Akinyelure representing Ondo Central Constituency who sponsored the piece of legislation had the bill pass the third reading on the floor of the senate at plenary.
Recall that the issue of abolishing the dichotomy between HND and BSc holders has been lingering on for long. And this has caused a deep rooted protest from the victims of this practice both in the public service and civil service.
The Federal Government had in June 2006 set up a White Paper Drafting Committee on the Consolidation of Emoluments in the Public Sector to put an end to the dichotomy.
The committee, which was made up of 17 members, was chaired by Malam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai, then Minister of FCT, with members that included Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Ambassador Ahmed Al-Gazali and Mrs Esther Nenadi Usman among other personalities.
The committee submitted the white paper recommending that government accepts that the undue dichotomy and ceiling on the salary grade level/ rank attainable by HND holders should be removed.
“OND and its equivalent from any government recognised institution should be regarded as a new minimum point of entry and the current scheme of service should be reviewed to reflect the above recommendation,” the document reads.
On March 14, 2007, and June 6, 2008, respectively, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) reaffirmed that:
“The HND certificate will remain a legal tender in Nigeria and holders of such certificate will continue to be recognised as an equivalent of First Degree holders without discriminatory remunerations and limit to progression in the workplace.”
Before now, a coalition of HND holders comprising public servants, unions, and others had threatened to down tools and ground government activities.
The group said its members would occupy the office of the Head of Service Office (HOS), which is supposed to act on it if they failed to implement the white paper on the removal of dichotomy on the career progression of HND holders in public service within the expiration of four weeks, which has now expired.
Mr. Chris Isiquzo Ikechukwu, the National President of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) had once condemned this unjust act.
“It was not proper that a certain group of people would be enjoying their promotion in service and another group retarded.”It is unacceptable to us”
“We are not going to take this lying low; we are going to mobilize our students and members across Nigeria.
“We are going to occupy that office until they do the needful because we will not continue to keep quiet and things will continue to go wrong”, he said.
Comrade Sabastine Onyemaobi, the President of Higher National Diploma Holders Association of Nigeria (HNDHAN), had October 2020 stated his displeasure over this unjust practice in the labour market.
“It was painful that an HND holder cannot progress beyond grade level 14 in workplace”. He said
Onyemaobi, moreover explained that there are other conditions, which are highly unjust and harsh to holders of HND.
“Some of the conditions for progression by HND holders, include acquisition of PGD and Master’s Degree, compulsory demotion, salary with no increment within the period of demotion, and sluggish and reluctant conversion process that lingers for many years”, he stated.