BY Henry Umoru & Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—OVER 400 sacked staff of National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, yesterday, stormed the National Assembly to protest against what they termed unjust lay-off of 4,029 junior members of staff.
The protesters, who were blocked at the entrance of the National Assembly, said they decided to match to there to fight against what they termed injustice and humiliation by the management of the Commission.
According to them, it was simply unjust to be used to produce the National Identity cards only to be sacked on the ground that they were not qualified to continue, just as they called on President Goodluck Jonathan to, as a matter of urgency, sack the Director-General, Mr. Chris Onyemenam.
Some protesters, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity, alleged that “the DG has turned the commission into a private concern and not a government body it was created to be. We are tired of his antics because today, majority of workers are from his village after he sent many of us packing.”
At the gate to receive them were Chairman, Senate Committee on National Identity and National Population, Senator Maina Lawan, Borno South; Chairman, Senate Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Senator Mohammed Magoro, Kebbi South, and Chairman, Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Wison Ake, Rivers West.
One of the leaders of the protesting staff, Abidoye Charity, told the senators: “The DG of NIMC disengaged 4,029 staff that is why we are here to let the National Assembly know what is happening.
“We were the ones that produced the identity card that Nigerians are proud of from 2003 to 2006. Since this DG came into office, there has been no identity cards production.
“We are here because we were dismissed unjustly. And he is saying that he has a backup from the Senate and even the President. He said they gave him authority. He even bought over all the unions that could have fought for us.”
Senators Lawan, Magoro and Ake assured the protesters that their grevances will be addressed.
Addressing the angry protesters, Chairman Senate Committee on National Identity and Population, Senator Lawan, who promised that the Senate will intervene and ensure that there was justice, said: “For Nigerians from different backgrounds and professions to come and gather in such numbers to present their grievance to the National Assembly, we must take it seriously.”
Senator Ake told the protesters: “Our concern is justice. Nobody should be victimised for whatever reason. So we are saying no to injustice. We have agreed to sit down and look into the cases you have raised.”