At exactly 12:45 pm, Nigerian time, today, May 30, 2017, when our correspondents visited several government offices in Calabar, the Cross River State, it was confirmed that the strike action embarked upon by the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, was in full swing and several civil servants in the state have remained at home in compliance with the NLC directive.
While the front doors of the Ministry of Justice, Civil Service Commission, Internal Revenue Service and The Ministry of Local Government at the New Secretariat, Murtala Muhammed highway, were open, staff were visibly absent and offices were under lock and key. It was the same scenario at the Michael Ani Secretariat, close to the Governor’s Office in Calabar. However, skeletal civil service was visible in the Governor’s Office, as some staff were seen performing their functions.
There is also a very clear reduction in human and vehicular traffic within the city as civil servants comply with the NLC directive. Labour is demanding that the Ben Ayade administration pay up gratuities and pensions to retirees without any flimsy deductions as recently experienced. Promotion of civil servants and payment of attendant remuneration is also a point of contention just like the huge sum of money recently squandered on the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the state which the NLC believes should have been properly spent paying a backlog of pensions. The engagement of consultants by the state government too is perceived by Labour as a financial conduit used to impoverish the state. In the 18 local government areas across the entire state, the strike action is in full force.
At the time of going to press, state NLC boss, John Ushie, had not responded to several phone calls to his number. Recall that he had last week informed www.calitown.com of this strike action and clearly said that the action is “indefinite”.
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