STAFF of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) on Thursday embarked on a nationwide strike, citing poor welfare conditions.
Their strike has temporarily put on hold the nationwide National Identity Numbers (NIN) registration recently ordered by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The NCC had asked all telecoms companies to disconnect the SIM cards of all persons who had not linked their NINs to their phone lines by the end of January.
According to a report, NIMC staff also decried the lack of protective kits at their offices, saying they could get infected with COVID-19 as they attended to hundreds of residents daily.
In a notice of strike action signed by Lucky Michael, president of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), NIMC branch, and Odia Victor, secretary, the group hinted that the strike action was necessary to drive home their demands due to lack of personal protective equipment, irregularities in the promotion and poor funding provided for its members.
“Consequent upon the just concluded congress of the above-mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2020, the unit executive directs all members of grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts tomorrow January 7, 2020, and do nothing.
“All members at the local government offices and special centres are advised to stay away from their various centres as a task force and implementation committees would be on parade to ensure total compliance with the directive,” a section of the notice stated.
The ICIR reached out to NIMC’s spokesperson, Kayode Adegoke, asking him the reasons for the strike action embarked on by NIMC, but he requested more time before he could speak on the issue.
“I can’t speak on this issue right now, just give me time and I will respond to you in due course,” he said.
About 42 million Nigerians currently have a NIN as of September 2020. However, the agency has been tasked with this assignment since its establishment in 2007.
Staff members of the NIMC were enjoined by the executives of ASCSN to participate in the strike action until their grievances were addressed.
“The congress agreed that the NIMC staff salary structure approved by the Federal Government vide presidential assent be implemented in the personnel appropriation of the 2021 annual budget effective January 2021.
“That the lopsided and irregular promotion done in 2017 and 2020 be reviewed, regularised and gazetted in accordance with public service rules,” the notice concluded.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.