The President of the Association of the Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC unit, Asekokhai Lucky, has revealed that the virus had been detected in three officials of the agency at its headquarters, thus the reason for National Identity Management Commission officials’s nation wide strike.
In a chat with PUNCH, Asekohai Lucky said the workers were angry because the management of the commission was aware of the development, but kept it from workers, who could have taken necessary precautions to protect themselves.
Lucky also said the workers would meet with government on Friday (today) to discuss COVID-19 scare and other issues that led to the strike.
Following the strike embarked upon by the workers, people who trooped to the NIMC offices across the country, were stranded as there was nobody to attend to them.
Recall that the Federal Government had, on December 14, 2020, ordered telecommunications firms to disconnect telephones lines of subscribers who failed to link their National Identity Numbers to their subscriber identification modules.
No fewer than 164 million Nigerians, who do not have the NIN have been trooping to the NIMC offices, disregarding COVID-19 protocols such as wearing of face masks and social distancing.
Lucky, in the interview with The PUNCH on Thursday evening, indicated that what angered the workers was that government was aware that three employees of the NIMC had been infected and that others were at the risk of contracting the virus, but kept quiet.
He stated, “Three workers of the NIMC have contracted COVID-19 because in our recent meeting a member of staff actually testified to it.
“The minute of that meeting captured it, as three persons are down with COVID-19. Some of us actually thought those guys were on leave. It was cleared yesterday (Wednesday) that they were treating themselves in isolation centres.”
The union accused the management of keeping silent about the development despite knowing what this could mean to workers of the commission.
Lucky said, “Our annoyance is that the management refused to say it out, knowing that it would have helped us to take all necessary precautions. Nobody is talking to anybody.
“That is our annoyance. Yes, our pay is poor, but there are ways we can manage ourselves. The three staff members are in the headquarters here in Abuja. One has been treated, but has not gone back for clearance.”
He said the union had been making efforts to meet with the NIMC management over staff welfare but noted that the commission’s boss had not shown interest.
Earlier on Thursday, thousands of applicants were locked out of the offices of the NIMC because of the strike. The notice of strike was signed by Lucky, and the Secretary of the ASCSN, NIMC unit, Odia Victor.