Nigeria, July 07, 2015, (Blank NEWS Online) –
“All we are saying….Give us our jobs”. This was one of the protest songs rendered by aggrieved Deltans, mostly youths, who besieged the security tight Government House in Asaba over the sudden suspension of their appointments into the civil service.
The protesters, under the aegis of Congress of Newly Employed Civil Servants In Delta State, who thronged out in their hundreds and laid siege at the Government House gate from 08:00am till 04:00pm on Monday, July 06, 2015, displayed placards with various inscriptions:
Chairman and spokesman of the group, Mr. Regha Obukowho, whose employment was also suspended after resumption at the office of Establishment and Pensions, expressed dismay over the action of the state government and appealed for their immediate recall.
In an interview with Blank NEWS Online, Mr. Regha Obukowho, who spoke on behalf of the protesters explained that “The governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa placed suspension on our employment.
Continuing, he narrated that “The Delta state Civil Service Commission advertised in December 2013 and we all applied until we were shortlisted for interview and subsequently confirmed and issued appointment letters to resume work in our various ministries and agencies, having passed through the rigorous processes with the registration therein.
“For no just cause and without prior information and notification, on June 1, 2015 upon arrival at our various offices, we were told that the newly sworn in Governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has ordered that we should stop work and go home that we are under suspension and the reasons were not made known to us.”
He said the reason stipulated by the state government for the suspension was as a result of alleged irregularities in the employment process which led to the setting up of a committee to investigate the irregularities but so far, the committee is yet to make known its findings.
He however expressed fears that the state government has deviated from the original purpose of the suspension by claiming that it was as a result of the high debt profile and hugh wage bill of the state.
According to him, “the state government is presently deviating from the purpose of the suspension, claiming that the suspension was as a result of the high debt profile and huge wage bill of the state and that is not our cause. Before he became the governor of Delta state, the state government have been paying workers salaries promptly.”
The protesters who brandished placards wondered why the findings of the committee set up to look into the irregularities that led to the job suspension is yet to be made public.
“Our agitation is that those of us who are Deltans should be recalled to our various offices and places of work, while the investigation continues and the findings of the investigating panel should be made public.”
They further described the move by the state government as contrary to Article 4 in the appointment letters issued by the Civil Service Commission which stipulates that employees would be preinformed of any new development in the course of their appointment as none of the employees were considered on that note.
Article 4: “Your appointment will take effect from the day on which you assumed duty and you will be subject to a term and condition laid down for civil service of Delta state of Nigeria and to the civil service rule and other regulations in force for the time being. The appointment may be terminated by a month notice or payment of a month salary in lieu of notice.”
Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Hon. Ovie Festus Agas, who met with the leadership of the protesters in his office, commended the suspended employees for their peaceful conduct while the protest lasted, saying that the state government is mindful of their predicament and determined to look into the issue dispassionately.
He therefore appealed to them to remain calm, as the state government would take an appropriate position on the issue which has remained in the front burner of the affairs of the state.
Earlier, SA Protocol to Governor Okowa, Comrade Temple, who addressed the protesters at the Government House gate, assured that the state government is considering their plights, adding that the outcome would be in the overall rating interest of Deltans.
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