The National Identity Management Commission workers have embarked on a nationwide strike due to the inability of the government to protect them from contracting coronavirus.
The NIMC Unit Chairman of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Lucky Asekokhai, confirmed to our reporter in a telephone interview that as of Thursday morning, three of the workers were being isolated at the THISDAY Dome isolation centre in Abuja.
He said until the government provides the necessary tools and funds to cater to their needs as essential workers, the industrial action would continue.
He said, “We are disobeying COVID-19 protocols; there is no social distancing and the management sees no reason to do something for the workers. We held a meeting yesterday and three workers have been confirmed positive for COVID-19 including their families. As we speak, one has been discharged from THISDAY Isolation centre and the other three are still there.
They said the government had made NIMC essential service providers and workers should be given essential care that would ensure their lives were protected.
Asekokhai said the salaries of workers were insufficient to cater to their needs, adding that graduates in NIMC did not collect up to N50,000 as monthly salaries.
“Because of this project, they promised that in the budget of this year, our salaries would be captured but all of a sudden the workers’ welfare is not captured in the 2021 budget,” he added.
He said, “Rather, instead of them increasing personnel expenses that will be used to take care of staff salary, they only increased capital expenditure.”
Asekokhai also demanded that all outstanding allowances, including overtime and training allowances, be paid with immediate effect.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, had directed telcos to disconnect all SIM cards that were not registered with valid NIN on their network.
This has led to a rush by Nigerians to enrol for the NIN before the deadline fixed by the minister.
However, stakeholders have condemned the directive in view of the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Also, after NIMC offices witnessed a turnout of large crowds, especially in Lagos and Abuja in a bid to get their NINs, the World Bank supported the commission with protective equipment against COVID-19 worth £172m.
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