BY HENRY UMORU
ABUJA — MINISTER of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, Senator Bala Mohammed, was yesterday held hostage by staff of FCTA and Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA over what they termed abuse of workers’ rights, just as they called for his immediate sack.
The workers in their hundreds, assembled as early as 8 a.m in front of the gate leading to the office of the minister in Area II of the nation’s capital city.
The workers, who made vehicular movement impossible to and fro the minister’s block of the FCDA were members of Joint Unions Action Committee, JUAC; Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN; Nigeria Union of Civil Service Secretariats Stenographic Workers, NUCSSSW; Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, MHWUN; Nigeria Civil Service Union, NCSU; Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services, AUPCTRE, National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE and Radio Television and Theatre Workers of Nigeria, RATTAWU.
The workers who carried placards and sang solidarity songs said the minister was insensitive to their plights, even as there were inscriptions on the placards like, “pay uniform allowance to health attendants;“ pay us our 13th month 2012, 2013; “Stop the abuse of workers rights, FCTA”; “Rent 100%; “ FCT workers have been denied promotions for 2012 and 2013 why?; “ Bala must go”
Meanwhile, in a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the FCTA Minister, Muhammad Hazat Sule, the minister has assured the staff that issues raised will be tackled despite the grievances of some staff, just as he reiterated that the administration had a staff strength of over 28,000 personnel and pays about N3.6 billion monthly as staff wages and salaries.
The protest by the worker however crippled business activities at the FCDA as workers who were not part of the protest were seen discussing the issue in groups, just as some were just standing watching the protesting workers who stood and vowed not to leave until the FCTA minister addresses them.
To save the situation, the FCTA permanent Secretary, Engr. John Obinna Chukwu who arrived the scene at 11.39am in company of the Director of Establishment and Training, Ahmed Nuhu, the Minister’s Chief of Staff, among others tried to pacify the aggrieved staff, but it was quite a harculeen task for the Permanent because the staff insisted that they were not ready to listen to him, but the minister.
At the time of this report, the workers were still at the gate of the FCTA and FCDA.
Prior to yesterday’s protest, staff of FCTA and FCDA had warned that they will block the Secretariat yesterday if the Administration fails to meet with their demands. The decision was taken after the meeting of Joint Unions Action Committee, JUAC held on Thursday, November 14th, 2013.
staff, just as he said that the Administration was also working on the allocation of Affordable Housing plots for the staff Cooperative Societies and the Unions to have befitting staffing housing scheme for its members.