By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, has summarily sacked over 3,000 workers in 19 parastatals, agencies and departments, as he stopped their salaries with effect from January 4, 2016.
A Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, source told Vanguard that over 3,000 workers were affected in the sack.
Vanguard gathered that “the current action of the governor, which not only came on the heels of last Wednesday’s labour protest in Owerri, headed by the National President of Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, is also closely linked with the recent obnoxious form which the administration forced Imo workers to sign before collecting their unpaid salaries.”
According to a statement by the Secretary to the Government of Imo State, Sir Jude Ejiogu, the workers caught in the sack-web include the Imo Water Corporation, Imo Cattle Market, Imo Sports Council, Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission, ENTRACO, Imo Marketing Company, Imo Consumer Protection Council, Hospital Management Board, and its headquarters staff.
Others are Imo Tourism Board, Imo Blue Lake of Treasure, Imo State Investment Promotion Agency, Imo Job Centre, Imo Water Development Agency, IWADA, Imo Library Board, Imo Agricultural Loans Board, Imo Livestock, Imo Poverty Alleviation Agency, Imo Palm Plantation, Agricultural Development Programme, ADP and Small Holders Unit.
Government explained that the action followed what it called “a productivity audit recently conducted in the parastatals, agencies and departments.”
The statement added that “Government is satisfied that it is no longer in public interest to keep running these agencies, parastatals and departments with huge cost on public revenue and no services to the public, under the present economic realities.”
Government promised that the affected workers would be communicated to in due course, about the administration’s next line of action regarding possible re-engagement, after the on-going concessioning exercise affecting the agencies, departments and parastatals.
The affected staff were ordered to handover all government property in their possession to their chief executives within 48 hours, while civil servants on secondment to any of the affected agencies, parastatals and agencies, were deployed to their parent ministries.
Agencies that escaped the hammer
Vanguard gathered that the agencies of government which staff narrowly escaped Okorocha’s sledgehammer were the Secondary Education Management Board, State Universal Education Board, General Hospital Okigwe, General Hospital Aboh Mbaise, Imo Essential Drugs, Specia Education Centre Orlu and School of the Deaf and Dumb, Orodo.
Others are Zoological Garden, Owerri, Logara Mbaise Remand Home, Government House Clinic, Imo Broadcasting Corporation, IBC, Project Finance Management Unit, Financo Brokers, Heartland Football Club and Imo College of Advanced Professional Studies, ICAPS, Owerri.