Drama Looms As NIMC Staff Accuse FG Of Covering Up COVID-19 At Agency
National Identity Management Commission officials across the country have gone on strike, according to The PUNCH.
They went on strike Thursday out of fears that COVID-19 will spread throughout the agency.
President of the Association of High Officials of Nigeria, a division of NIMC, Asekohai Laki, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, said that the virus had already been detected in three employees of the agency at its headquarters.
He said the workers were annoyed that the leadership of the commission knew about the development, but kept it away from the workers, who could take the necessary measures to protect themselves.
Lucky also said workers will meet with the government on Friday (today) to discuss concerns over COVID-19 and other issues that led to the strike.
After the workers’ strike, people who arrived at NIMC offices across the country were stranded because there was no one to watch over them.
As a reminder, on December 14, 2020, the federal government ordered telecommunications companies to disconnect the phone lines of subscribers who were unable to link their national identification numbers to subscriber identification forms.
At least 164 million Nigerians who do not have a NIN went to NIMC offices, ignoring COVID-19 protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing.
Lucky, in an interview with PUNCH on Thursday night, indicated that it angered the workers that the government knew three NIMC employees were infected and others were at risk of contracting the virus but did so. silence.
He declared, “Three NIMC employees hired COVID-19 because one of the employees actually testified at our recent meeting.
“He was hooked by the minute of that meeting, as three people have problems with COVID-19. Some of us really thought these guys were on vacation. It became clear yesterday (Wednesday) that they were being treated in isolation wards. ”
The union has accused management of being silent about development, even though they know what that might mean for commissioners.
Lucky said: “We are annoyed that the management refused to say this, knowing that it will help us to take all the necessary precautions. Nobody talks to anyone.
“This is our annoyance. Yes, our salary is paltry, but there are ways to cope with ourselves. Three staff members work at the headquarters here in Abuja. One received treatment but did not return for the procedure. “
He said the union had made attempts to meet with NIMC management on employee welfare issues, but noted that the head of the commission showed no interest.
As it became known, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami tried to intervene in this matter, but failed due to disagreements over a suitable venue for the meeting.
Lucky said: “The minister came today, but we did not speak with him. When he arrived, we were on the street, and they asked us to come in, but we refused, because yesterday (Wednesday) the management announced that the president of the union should leave.
“The staff said that if the union president leaves, we will not go to talk to the minister. But at the end of the day and for security reasons, we decided to go inside. “
“In order for the minister to turn to us, we were again told that the minister could not speak to us if we did not go to another place in the room. And because of the crowd, we said we couldn’t go there.
“We moved to another place, waiting for the minister, but we were told that the minister said that if we did not get where he was, he would not talk to us, and the minister got into his car and left. “.
However, the leader of the NIMC trade unions noted that the workers will meet today (Friday) with the government and the leadership of the commission.
He noted that the Workers ‘Congress, a union of workers’ parents, will address the issue, adding that by 10:00 pm on Thursday, workers will meet to decide whether they will work on Friday.
Lucky stated: “We told them (the management) to let us go, then tomorrow we will continue the meeting. You know I’m after enrollment. They want people to register.
“But we said no, you guys after recording, what about the people doing the work? They don’t mean it. Well, we told them that it was primarily about our mother’s body, TUC, and they would hear us. ”
High-ranking officials of the commission refused to answer calls and text messages sent to them about it.
NIMC CEO Aliya Aziz and Commission spokesman Kayode Adegoke did not respond to several calls on their mobile phones when contacted.
However, it was determined that the management is ready to meet with the union on Friday.
On Thursday, thousands of applicants were expelled from NIMC offices in a strike. The strike notice was signed by Lucky and the secretary of the ASCSN, NIMC division, Odia Victor.
He read in part, “Following the just-concluded convention of the aforementioned association on January 6, 2020, the divisional leader is ordering all members at level 12 and below at headquarters and state offices to report on their work tomorrow January 7, 2020 and do nothing.
“All members of local governments and special centers are advised to stay away from their various centers as task forces and implementation committees will parade to ensure full compliance with the directive.”
According to a press release issued at the end of the ASCSN meeting, NIMC section, the strike was necessary due to the impact of COVID-19 on staff, lack of personal protective equipment, disruptions in promotions and insufficient funding.
Light up our offices, give us PPE – Workers
They also asked for overtime pay and sufficient tools to get the job done.
The congress noted that, “Employees have contracted COVID-19, and adequate measures have not been taken to reduce its spread. At the meeting, it was decided that the safety of personnel should be a priority. You should also immediately fumigate the office environment.
Congress agreed that the federal approved NIMC staff salary structure has been approved by the president to be implemented in the 2021 annual staff budget starting in January 2021.
“The unilateral and irregular promotions carried out in 2017 and 2020 have been reviewed, ordered and published in accordance with the civil service rules.