Victims were illegally recruited, govt insists
By Victor Ogunje
The organised labour and the 21 workers allegedly sacked by the Ekiti State House of Assembly yesterday protested against the state lawmakers over their “unjust dismissal” from the service of the state Assembly.
The protest, led by labour leaders, was held within the premises of the state Assembly complex, where they rendered series of derisive songs to castigate the Ekiti State House of Assembly Service Commission over the action.
Addressing the dismissed workers, the Secretary of the Ekiti State Joint Negotiating Council, Gbenga Olowoyo, said it was wrong for the commission to have speedily sent the names of the affected workers to the state accountant-general to stop their salaries while negotiation lasted.
He said: “We are here to express our rejection of the summary dismissal of these 21 staff members of the House of Assembly Commission. Though the commission denied ever sacking anyone, it was not true.
“We learnt from good authority that they have forwarded their names to the state accountant-general to stop their salaries, as they were also denied access to the Assembly complex despite being employed and put on the payroll for 10 years.
“We are not saying that the commission cannot audit its staff, but it has to be with human face. We are going to fight to the end. We are not afraid of victimisation. All the workers in the civil service will join them in solidarity. We are building careers here, and we won’t allow any politician to destroy us.”
Also speaking, the Secretaries of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Lawrence Kuloogun, and that of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Taiwo Akinyemi, said the sacking of those workers was not only inhuman, but embarrassing to the state workforce.
They said: “This is an injustice, harassment and an embarrassment to our workers. In Ekiti State University, we buried scores of our workers. The same happened at the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital. This was because of the sack, but here in the state Assembly, we are not ready to bury anyone (worker).
“The commission must reverse to status quo. They should not distribute any letter anymore, and they must retrieve the ones already served for our workers to live good and worthy lives.”
But a statement issued by the Chairman of the commission, Hon Taiwo Olatunbosun, yesterday said the just released report of the staff audit was part of the efforts to reorganise the legislative service commission for effective and quality service delivery in line with the scheme of service.
Olatunbosun added that the audit, which started last year on assumption of office of the present commission members, they engaged the services of auditors over complaints, agitations and petitions from members of staff on allegations of irregular advancement, absenteeism, arbitrary promotion and placement of officers above colleagues without regards to scheme of service.
“The audit discovered some irregularities ranging from hiding, alteration and mutilation of files, advancement of staffers without due process, appointees illegally retained in the system after expiration of tenure, arbitrary transfer of service without cognate experience, overage staff members, irregular appointments/promotion of staff without approval, cases of forgeries, arbitrary placement of officers with utter disregard to scheme of service.
“The commission wishes to stress that the routine staff audit was carried out in good faith without any intention of vendetta, witch-hunt or victimisation against anyone.
“It is equally important to note that the exercise will assist the commission to restructure, reposition and bridge the generational gap in the establishment,” he stated.