FIRS Staff Union Threatens Industrial Action over Choice of Acting Chairman

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James Emejo in Abuja

Barely 24 hours after the former Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, handed over the affairs of the service to the Coordinating Director, Domestic Taxes Group, Mr. Abiodun Aina, the workers of the agency have threatened an industrial strike action, insisting that Aina was not the most senior officer to occupy the office.

The union warned that if by close of work on Friday December 13, no action was taken to address the situation, “the union will no longer guarantee further industrial harmony in the system.”

Fowler was directed to hand over to the most senior officer in the organization, according to regulation.

But, in a communique issued by the Joint Union Council of FIRS after an emergency meeting, which was held at the secretariat of the Association of Senior Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), the workers accused Fowler of not heeding Buhari’s directive to hand over to the most senior director in the service.

They said the action was a clear departure from the presidential direction as Aina “is not the most senior director”.

The staff also said Aina lacked the basic qualifications/requirements to be employed into the service, adding that his appointment to the position of coordinating director was against the provisions of the FIRS human resource policies and processes, which stipulate that “appointment to the post of coordinating director shall be made by the board on the recommendation of the executive chairman. The appointment shall be open to all confirmed directors of the service and it shall be competitive based on experience, competence and seniority.”

They added that Aina was never a director but rather, a senior special assistant to Fowler.

In the joint communique signed by its Chairman, Mr. Okeke Samson and 16 other staff, the union said the seniority list should be followed and the appropriate person be directed to act, pending the assumption of the new FIRS executive chairman, who is awaiting senate confirmation alongside other members of the newly constituted board.