Members of staff of the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, in various parts of the country, yesterday protested the alleged plan by the agency to retrench over 1,000 of its employees.
In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, the protest started at about 8am and lasted till 4pm. It was supported by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.
Apart from the retrenchment threat, NLC also accused NIMC management of unprovoked issuance of queries to some workers in order to package them out of service and unfair labour practices.
The protest stalled activities at the NIMC premises as the aggrieved workers blocked the road leading to the commission’s office.
However, the commission through its spokesman, Abdulwaheed Umar, claimed that the management would only retrench workers with fake employment letters.
Umar said that the affected workers had been given the opportunity to regularise their employment which they failed to do.
Umar, who is the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the commission, said that the management was only sanitising the agency by enforcing minimum standards and work ethics.
Secretary of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Isaac Ojemhenke, criticised the management for the planned exercise, just as the FCT Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Aliyu Musa, bemoaned the working conditions of workers in NIMC.
The situation was the same in Akure, Ondo State as the workers of NIMC under the auspices of TUC shutdown the agency’s office. They called on the Federal Government to sack the Director-General, Mr. Chris Onyeneman, for alleged partiality in the ongoing retrenchment and recruitments in the commission.
TUC leaders and the Association of Civil Servants of Nigeria led the workers to block the gate of the premises. The workers carried placards which read, “We say no to retrenchment of workers,” “Demand For Justice,” NIMC Is Dying,” and “Onyeneman Must Go.”
The state TUC Chairman, Soladoye Ekudayo, accused the NIMC DG of using a non-transparent verification exercise to retrench workers and employ his people, adding that three workers had just resumed at the Akure office at the expense of those to be retrenched.
Ekundayo who is also the State Secretary of the Senior Civil Servant Association of Nigeria, SCSAN, explained that the national leadership of the union met with the NIMC management over the issue which was dead.
The chairman of NIMC’s chapter of the association, Gbenga Abileko, claimed that 33 workers in the state office had been retrenched and vowed that they would do everything to bring them back.
At the Owerri, Imo State office of NIMC, the workers staged a peaceful protest against the planned retrenchment of 26 of their colleagues.
They said they anticipated their inclusion in the disengagement from the commission following a query issued them by the authorities of the commission last year hence the protest to show their disapproval of the planned sack.
During the protest at the Federal Secretariat along Port Harcourt Road, Owerri, the group declared that the planned sack of some senior staffers of the commission in the state office is wicked, especially as they contended that it without any retirement benefits attached.
The aggrieved workers’ leader, Barr. Chris Oyemenem, hinted that no fewer than 26 staffers of the commission in Imo, who have worked for at least 30 years will be affected by the proposed retrenchment.
The Secretary of ASCSN, Gamelia Agbara, said that the association had yesterday commenced a nationwide strike as part of efforts to resist the sack plot.

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