The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has suspended the 4 weeks oldstrike action in the Federal Ministry of Education just as it called for the removal of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. MacJohn Nwaobiala.
In a statement issued in Abuja at the weekend and signed by its Secretary-General, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal, the Union stated that the suspension of the industrial action followed the release of the sum of N527,643,444.00 (five hundred and twenty-seven million, six hundred and forty-three thousand, four hundred and forty-four naira) by the Federal Government which is now being used to pay the 1st batch of the promotion arrears to the staff of the Federal Ministry of Education.
“Besides, there have been appeals by well-meaning Nigerians including the Honourable Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Service Matters who met with the Union and the Management of the Federal Ministry of Education on Thursday 17th October, 2014 in Abuja and emphasized the need for the Ministry to pay its staff all their outstanding entitlements,” the statement added.
On the call for the removal of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Nwaobiala, the ASCSN Secretary-General pointed out that the negative attitude of the Permanent Secretary towards the welfare of the Ministry’s workers and the ignoble role he played by treating welfare issues with levity provided the ingredients that fuelled the industrial action.
He emphasized that if the Permanent Secretary had done the needful, all the allowances, many of which have been outstanding since 2007 would have been paid.
“Persistent strikes in the Education sector have more than confirmed that the Permanent Secretary has lost his bearing and as such, the best option for the Government is to post him out of the Federal Ministry of Education before he completely destroys the sector,” the Statement added.
According to the Association’s Secretary-General, a task force made up of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Education has been set up to ensure that the N1.7 Billion needed to complete the payment of promotion arrears and other allowances are released by the Budget Office of the Federation.
Part of the Agreement signed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Clement Illoh, the Secretary-General, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal and Dr. M.B. Umar, Director (Human Resource Management), Federal Ministry of Education, reads: “the outstanding sum of N1.7 Billion which covers the balance of 2007 to 2010 Promotion Arrears, the supplementary Promotion Arrears for 2011, Promotion Arrears for 2012, outstanding salaries for newly employed and re-instatement allowance, will be paid immediately the sum of N1.7 Billion is released to the Federal Ministry of Education by the Budget Office of the Federation”.
“The sum of N25 million will be set aside by the Ministry monthly (with effect from September, 2014) to offset other Allowances owed members of staff,” the statement added.
The Association’s chief scribe explained that these other allowances include the 1st 28 days in lieu of hotel accommodation, Duty Tour Allowance, 2010 Mandatory Training Allowance, Burial Expenses Allowance, FTC Course Allowance, Repatriation Allowance, etc.
It will be recalled that on Friday 19th October, 2014, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria called out its teeming members at the Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Inspectorate Offices and the 104 Federal Unity Colleges on strike to press home its demands for the payment of the above entitlements and allowances.
The strike action paralyzed activities at the Headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Inspectorate Offices and the 104 Federal Unity Colleges.