By Felix Onajite
For one of Nigeria’s troubled financial institutions, Wema Bank Plc, it has been a tale of one scandal to another following recent information filtering in to THE WITNESS.
While the Managing Director/CEO of the bank, Ademola Adebise and other top officials are still battling to save their heads from the axe of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), following allegations of money laundering running into the tune of N1 billion, the bank is in the news for the wrong reasons again.
Recall that the bank’s chief executive alongside others allegedly laundered the said sum using the account of an innocent customer without his consent.
In the latest development, the chief human resources officer of the bank, Ololade Ogungbenro has been accused of turning junior staff into slaves.
Ogungbenro has reportedly brought back the memories of the old television series, set in the United States of America; “Hammer House of Horror,” which has allegedly turned the good, old Wema Bank to a shadow of its former self.
Unlike the expectation that Ololade would turn the Human Capital Management Department of the bank to a model of values attached to the importance of personnel in an organisation and a reflection of importance of workforce and how staff are to be treated, the woman, who got to the office sometime in 2019, is said to be doing the contrary.
It was gathered that the bank’s core values which are Mutual Respect, Team Work, and Professionalism “are flagrantly disregarded if not trampled upon with boasts by Ololade, who incidentally is a Pastor in the fastest growing pentecostal church.”
Her alleged persistent verbal abuses and threat of sack with a boast that she is untouchable by the Management reportedly seemed to have emboldened her and true to her boast has gotten away with near blue murder.
Insiders alleged that resignations, request for deployment to other divisions, sicknesses, fears, collapse at work place have been the lot of the workers in the bank, especially her unit which has affected the morale, confidence, self esteem and work output of staff.
The latest was said to be another married lady named, who was allegedly verbally abused for over one hour on Wednesday 24th February by the woman.
“She was crying hysterically for that long while absorbing the abuse and that led to her collapse and eventual emergency evacuation by staff to a private hospital Gbagada where she was immediately placed on admission.
“The woman fainted several times on the way to the hospital and while receiving treatment.
“The psychologist at the hospital reviewed her when she temporarily regained her consciousness, expressed the huge impact of the emotional trauma on her and advised her to resign from that office as it is a threat to her life,” said a source.
It was further alleged that the woman got hysterical when she saw Mrs Ololade, who was at the hospital to confirm if truly her boast, verbal and psychological abuse with a threat of sack actually resulted in her collapse and if truly she was in hospital and that she wasn’t acting up.
This same scenario reportedly occurred some few months ago when the parents of one other staff, who heard verbal abuses and threat to their daughter’s life requested their daughter to resign “even though she was one of the best hands of the department.”
“The phone conversation of the verbal abuse was with the lady who had to resign in order to still be alive. It was said that management swept this under the carpet again.
“Another classical example is another woman, whose name was not mentioned. Ololade turned this lady into a nervous wreck and frustrated the life out of her.
“Luckily when she was almost at her wits end, she made personal moves and got redeployed to another unit with a humane Boss. The woman has regained her lost glory, she regained her self confidence, she is glowing and flourishing in her new unit.
Interestingly while all the staff of the bank are aware of Ololade’s unprofessional attitude, the blind eyes turned by the Management is a source of worry,” the source added.
It was further alleged that mere dislike of your face by Ololade was “enough reason to make life miserable for any staff and her boasts from the first day of her engagement that she is known as Mrs Fire ( apparently from the way she fires staff which she derives pleasure in doing) sends cold to workers spine.”
It is gathered that some of the bank staff who have been “beneficiaries” of her harassment and unprofessional conducts are perfecting their papers to approach Industrial Court “since the top Management seems to be in her pocket for whatever reasons.”
The question on the lips of many observers is that “why is the management of this first generation bank looking the other way, when they ought to have acted and stop this woman from destroying the legacy they built for many years?”
Efforts by our reporter to reach Funmilayo Falola, the head of Brand and Marketing Communications of Wema Bank, for the bank’s angle to the allegations proved futile as calls and text message placed to her mobile lines were not responded to as at press time.
-additional report by First Weekly
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