Some Lagos residents have appealed to the Federal Government to address welfare issues of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) workers, to stop their on-going strike.
The residents made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday, in Lagos.
NAN reports that the workers’ union, under the aegis of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC branch, had issued a strike notice signed by its President, Lucky Michael, and Secretary, Odia Victor.
“Consequent upon the just concluded congress of the above-mentioned association that took place on Jan. 6, 2021, the unit executive directs all members on grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts on Jan. 7, 2021, and do nothing”, the union’s strike notice indicated.
The residents lamented that the deadline for submission of the National Identity Number (NIN) and the second wave of COVID–19 should be considered while taking decisions on the strike.
Mr Wasiu Ashafa, a motor spare part dealer, said that he was not aware of the strike until he got to the NIMC office in Alausa, where he met a lot of people expressing their disappointment.
“ I am not aware there is going to be a strike. I came early this morning so as to return to my shop after registration. They have wasted my time and transport fare, the government should look into the cause of the strike,” he said.
Also, Mr Akintayo James, a civil servant, said that the government should respond to the claim of poor COVID–19 safety arrangement in NIMC offices, so as to end the strike on time.
“Considering the second wave of Coronavirus, there is a need for the provision of adequate safety arrangements as requested by striking staff. People are no more observing the safety precautions; they just want to register for NIN,” he said.
Mrs Rasidat Shittu, a public servant, said that the government should look into the remuneration of NIMC staff, as their work now involved the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“Government should include hazard allowance and other incentives for NIMC staff. They expose themselves to the danger of contracting COVID–19 each day they come to the office due to the crowd they attend to,” she said.
Mr Adigun Kazeem, a student, urged the government to review the deadline for NIN submission, considering the number of people that still want to be registered.
“Government should consider extending the deadline to control the rate at which people rush to NIMC offices to avoid the spread of Coronavirus,” he said.
Another worker, Mrs Grace Ayinde, also said that the safety of staff should be prioritised to curtail COVID-19 spread among NIMC staff.
“Safety of the staff should be prioritised for them to work without fear of contracting the virus. This is part of the reason for the strike” she said.
The striking circular further read: ”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 to the directive.”
NAN recalled that the Nigerian Communications Commission had asked all telecom firms to disconnect SIM cards of all persons who have not integrated their NIN with their phone lines by the end of January.