18th February, 2014
Fear has gripped thousands of workers in Edo State civil service, southern Nigeria, over rumoured sack of about 1,800 of them from various ministries and government departments.
It was gathered that those affected have either overstayed their statutory time in service or those who allegedly have some discrepancies in their educational qualifications.
Chairman of Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Emma Ademokun, in his reaction in Benin, said that since the news of the sack of civil servants has not been confirmed by the state government to Labour, he believed it is a working document.
He however threatened that “Labour would do what it knows best” if government retrenches its members.
Ademokun who spoke to newsmen after an emergency meeting of NLC in Benin City, further said: “I will call it a working document because we are used to government verification of workers’ credentials,” adding that the state government could not be considering sacking workers whose population of about 15,000 when Governor Adams Oshiomhole assumed office in 2008, has since depleted to less than 5,000.
The majority of the affected civil servants allegedly learnt of their sack when they discovered that their names were missing from the January 2014 salary voucher, while some of them were said to have received the news from letters delivered to them.
It was learnt that some of those sacked were on the recommendations of the state Information and Technology, ICT, Unit of the governor’s office which allegedly found them to have either over-stayed, mentally unstable, physically blind or have falsified their ages and credentials over time to remain in service.
But Ademokun said that “government has not decided to remove their names from the payment voucher. Just like what happened to the 928 workers who were affected by a similar exercise in 2013, whom the government said will be recalled, we have said that if by February 28 they have not been recalled workers will embark on an indefinite strike action.”
In his reaction, the state Commissioner for Information, Louis Odion, told journalists on phone that it was not true that any list has been officially released, adding that “whatever list is in circulation is fictitious and it is being circulated by persons with mischief. But I can confirm that government carried out a verification exercise and as an employer of labour, we have the right to do that.
“The verification exercise was carried out in all government establishments contrary to complaints by some teachers in public schools that they are the targets of the verification exercise. But government has not decided on what to do about the civil servants found to have discrepancies. However, it is those civil servants that think they have skeletons in their cupboards that are complaining.”