By Bimbola Oyesola
Nigeria’s Organised Labour has condemned the Federal Government’s plan to sack 3,500 public servants under the guise that their appointments are irregular and unauthorised.
This is even as it has warned that the planned mass sack of public servants, if not put on hold, would trigger a phenomenal industrial crisis in the public service, the magnitude of which no one can predict.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) expressed shock that the Federal Government was planning to send 3,500 employees to the over-saturated labour market at a period when millions of Nigerians are dying of starvation, with some committing suicide because of harsh economic conditions imposed on them by the government itself.
The ASCSN Secretary General, Alade Bashir Lawal, stated: “The greatest tragedy of this insensitive planned retrenchment is that the association has already taken the Federal Government to court on this matter and the least we expect in a normal democratic society is for the government to allow the court process to be pursued to its logical conclusion and in the interim maintain status quo ante on the matter.
“It must be emphasised that if citizens begin to disrespect the judicial process and resort to self-help as this government has been doing, sooner or later, the entire society will be engulfed in anarchy.”
The ASCSN Secretary General said when the union got wind that the Federal Government had concluded plans to sack about 6,000 workers because they were alleged to have been illegally recruited by the last administration, it filed a suit at the National Industrial Court (NIC) to forestall the move.
He added that the case in Suit No. NICN/459/2016, filed by the ASCSN at the NIC, Abuja, against the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation came up for hearing on Wednesday February 1, 2017 and had been adjourned to Monday, February 27, 2017.
“Since Nigeria is practicing democracy based on the rule of law, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation should, pending the outcome of the court process, stop further action on the impending mass sack of 6,000 workers, which the government is now telling the public that it is only 3,500 it wants to disengage in order to mellow down their anger.
“We cannot continue with this culture of impunity where government officials see themselves as demigods who are above the laws of the country,” he said.
Lawal said the ASCSN position was that even if the workers were recruited from certain part of the country, what the government should do was to employ people from the other part so as to balance the deficit instead of throwing 6,000 helpless workers into the job market.
“At any rate, was any due diligence done to establish whether these workers were engaged in the first instance because their area has been marginalised in the past,” the union wondered.