From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti

Workers, numbering 21, that were allegedly sacked by the Ekiti State House of Assembly, and organised labour, yesterday, protested their unjust dismissal from the service of the House.

The protest, led by labour leaders, was held within the premises of the Assembly complex.

Addressing the dismissed workers, Secretary of the Ekiti State Joint Negotiating Council, Gbenga Olowoyo, said it was wrong for the Assembly Service Commission  to have speedily sent the names of the affected workers to accountant general to stop their salaries, while negotiation is still ongoing.

He said: “We are here to express our rejection of the summary dismissal of these 21 staff of the House of Assembly. Though the commission denied ever sacking anyone, which was not true.

“We learnt from good authority that they have forwarded their names to the accountant general to stop their salaries while also denied access to the Assembly complex despite being employed and put on the payroll for 10 years.

“We are not saying 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.”

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Secretaries of Trade Union Congress, Lawrence Kuloogun and that of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Taiwo Akinyemi, said the sacking of the workers was not only inhuman, but embarrassing to the workforce.

“The commission must reverse to status quo. They should not distribute any letter any more and they must retrieve the ones already served for our workers to live good and worthy lives.”

Chairman of the commission, Taiwo Olatunbosun, in a statement, said the just released report of the staff audit was part of efforts to reorganise the legislative service commission for effective and quality service delivery in line with the scheme of service.

Olatunbosun said the audit, which started last year on assumption of office of the present commission members, 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 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.”