In a recent development, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has voiced its dissatisfaction with the sluggish progress of the workers’ verification initiative implemented by the Abia State Government. The union’s concerns were articulated in a press release issued on Thursday, signed by Abia NLC Chairman, Nweke Paschal, and Secretary, Emma Alozie, following a State Executive Council meeting.
While expressing support for the verification exercise and the welfare measures initiated by Governor Alex Otti, the NLC criticized the alleged inhumane treatment faced by civil servants during the ongoing verification process.
The press release stated, “We are deeply concerned about the challenges faced by Abia workers in their efforts to undergo verification. It is unacceptable to the Labour union that up to six Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), each employing between 400 to 700 workers, are summoned for verification on the same day.”
The NLC further emphasized that subjecting workers to inhumane conditions and requiring them to report for verification without being captured under such difficult circumstances was unacceptable. The situation, exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies without corresponding relief from the State government, has left many workers in distress.
The NLC urged Governor Alex Chioma Otti to promptly approve the payment of salaries to affected workers to alleviate their suffering. The union stressed that these workers should be considered Abia workers until proven otherwise through the verification process.
Additionally, the NLC demanded that no civil servant in the state should face victimization during the verification process. They also called for transparency in the duration of the exercise, emphasizing that the contractor conducting the verification should not dictate the timeline.
In response to the challenging conditions faced by workers during verification, the NLC requested the restoration of adequate lighting at the International Conference Centre, the venue for the ongoing verification. They argued that this would ensure a well-ventilated and comfortable environment for the workers. Furthermore, the NLC called for an extension of the verification closing date to ensure that all workers have the opportunity to undergo the process.
Efforts to obtain a response from Mr. Ferdinand Ekeoma, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Alex Otti, were unsuccessful as he did not respond to messages sent for comment.
The Nigerian Labour Congress continues to advocate for the fair treatment and welfare of workers in Abia State, underscoring the importance of a smooth and just verification process.