By Adunola Oladapo
Nigeria (ASCSN) has flayed alleged plan by the Federal Government to sack 3,500 public servants “under the guise that their appointments were irregular and unauthorized”.
In a press statement issued in Lagos, the ASCSN Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, expressed shock that the “Federal Government wanted to send 3,500 employees to the oversaturated labour market at a period when millions of Nigerians were dying of starvation, some committing suicide because of harsh economic conditions imposed on them by the Government”.
He said:“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 emphasized 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 Union stated.
According to the ASCSN, when it 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 Federal Government, the Association filed a Suit in the National Industrial Court (NIC) to forestall the move.
It 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 1st February 2017 and had been adjourned to Monday 27 February 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 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,” the Union emphasised.
The ASCSN posited 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.
The ASCSN regretted that a Government that came to power promising to create millions of jobs had been preoccupied with devising all forms of trickery to indulge in mass sack of Nigerian workers.
“As we write, thousands of Federal public servants are yet to be paid their promotion arrears outstanding for about 10 years as well as other benefits while currently, salaries have not been paid to certain categories of civil servatns since December 2016, yet, instead of paying workers their legitimate entitlements, the Government is bent on inflicting maximum pain on the psyche of public servants who are under constant threat of premature retirement.
“The point ought now to be stressed that when one employee lose his or her job in Nigeria, the life of about twenty others who depend on him or her for survival are also endangered,” the Union emphasized.
It warned the Federal Government to put on hold the planned mass sack of public servants so as not to trigger off industrial crisis in the Public Service, the magnitude of which no one could predict.
The ASCSN posited that the matter is in court and the Federal Government which initiated an out of court settlement at the last hearing date should respect the legal process and come up with its term at the next adjourned date.