There was utter chaos at the premises of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) as thousands of applicants who besieged the office were locked out as a result of a strike embarked on by staff in Abuja.
It was gathered that the action followed a strike notice signed by the NIMC branch of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria by its President, Lucky Michael and Secretary, Odia Victor.
In the strike notice, the staff the action was necessitated by fear for their lives over a possible spread of COVID-19 as the crowd that besiege the commission is becoming unbearable.
The notice read in part, “Consequent upon the just concluded congress of the above mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2020, the unit executive directs all members of grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts tomorrow January 7, 2020 and do nothing.
It advised all members at the local government offices and special centres to stay away from their various centres as task force and implementation committees would be on parade to ensure total compliance to the directive.
I will be recalled that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NMC) had last month asked all telecoms firms to disconnect by the end of January the SIM cards of all persons who have not integrated their National Identity Numbers (NIN) with their phone lines.
In a communiqué they issued at the end of the congress meeting of the ACCSN, NIMC branch, the members said that the strike had become necessary due to the exposure of staff to COVID-19 risks, lack of personal protective equipment, irregularities in promotion and poor funding.
Then staff also asked to be paid overtime and given enough tools to work with.
According to them, “Staff members were infected with COVID-19 and adequate measures have not been taken to curtail the spread. The meeting resolved that safety of staff should be prioritised. Furthermore the office environment should be fumigated immediately.
“The congress agreed that the NIMC staff salary structure approved by the Federal Government vide Presidential assent be implemented in the personnel appropriation of the 2021 annual budget effective January 2021.
They also asked for review, regularization and review of the lopsided and irregular promotion done in 2017 and 2020 in accordance with public service rules.