Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Over 200 aggrieved staff of the National Copyright Commission (NCC), yesterday, protested the non-payment of allowances owed them since 2011. They have therefore called on the Federal Government to sack the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Afam Ezekude, and cause a thorough investigation of his activities in the commission.
This was as activities at the commission’s headquarters were grounded throughout the protest as offices were shut down following strike.
The protesting workers further called for the suspension of the Director of Administration, Mr. Bitrus Dauda, and the setting up a disciplinary committee to investigate his earning over N3 million illegally as 2014 December salary.
In a statement yesterday, the Senior Staff Association vowed that until Ezekude is sacked, investigated, and prosecuted, the industrial action will persist as they will intensify their yearnings until the first week of December 2018 when the purported illegal tenure renewal will expire by effluxion of time.
The statement was jointly signed by Ihuma Okwu Moses and Kunle Olatunji, Unit Chairman and Unit Secretary respectively.
They further called for the re-organisation of the Administration Department of the Commission as well as the appointment of a competent and experienced Director to head the department within one month to ensure professionalism and smooth running of the commission.
Other demands of the workers include a review and withdrawal of all queries/warning letters issued to officers as a result of their participation in union activities in 2015.
“Development of comprehensive administrative structure/organisation within one month from the date of the communiqué for the purpose of getting the approval establishment from office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
“Training of Procurement Officers to handle the procurement needs of the commission and holding of regular town hall meeting with its staff to address burning industrial issues in order to discuss and nip in the bud issues capable of escalating to industrial action.
They lamented that, “over six months down the line, Ezekude has refused to implement the agreement and is surreptitiously deferring the issues for his successor to inherit. The association said it had issued a 14-day ultimatum to Ezekude some time in May 2018 but the he paid deaf ears to the request.
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“Similarly, the association had written several letters requesting for a meeting of the union’s exco and the management. Among such are letters were those dated July 27, 2018 and August 3, 2018 respectively all to no avail. The letters of request for urgent meeting were also copied to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice being the supervising Minister and Minister of Labour and Employment.
“The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, intervened and convened series of meetings between the commission’s management and staff on the 4/9/18, 11/9/18, 12/9/18 and 14/9/18 but regrettably Ezekude flouted all the dates, and instead wrote a letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“It was against this background that the Senior Staff of the commission on Monday September 17, 2018 commenced an industrial action which is ongoing. Till date, Ezekude has not deemed it necessary as a responsible Chief Executive to address the workers and find amicable solution, rather, he is moving round boasting that when the workers are tired, they will rescind.”