Workers defy Imo govt’s directive on sack, dares Governor Okorocha

Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha

Workers in 19 parastatals, agencies and departments in Imo State reported for duties Tuesday, defying the directive by the state government that they should to hand over and stop work.

Governor Rochas Okorocha had, in a statement on Sunday, announced the sack of staffers of the organisations.

But when NAN correspondent visited offices of some of the organisations in Owerri, the state capital, on Tuesday, some of the workers were seen at their duty posts attending to visitors, while some were discussing the development in groups.

The offices visited were Imo Water Corporation near Standard, Sports Council, Owerri, and Imo State Environmental Transformation Commission.

Others were Imo Marketing Company located at Old Secretariat, Orlu Road Owerri, and Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), near NOA Office on Okigwe Road.

Some of the workers told NAN that they had yet to be served with any disengagement letters.

“I was issued employment letter by the state government when I was engaged by the state as a staff of ADP and it will be administratively wrong for me to stop work because of what somebody said he heard on radio.

“If the person who made the announcement is informed of the workings of the civil service, he should issue a sack letter to me and until that is done I will continue to report for duties,’’ Uzochukwu Chukwuka, said.

Amaka Adigwe, a staff of Imo marketing company, described the action as fraudulent.

“When I heard the radio announcement that we have been sacked, I knew that some people were hatching fraud because you cannot sack a worker mid-month without paying his or her salary.

“So, for the state government to claim that our salaries have been stopped since Jan. 4 when we have worked from the beginning of the month till Jan.17 without committing any punishable offence shows those behind the plot had failed,” Ms. Adigwe said.

Meanwhile, Austin Chilakpu, the state Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), in a reaction, told NAN that the leadership of the union was shocked to hear the radio announcement.

“Thank God all of you were around last Wednesday when Governor Okorocha told the NLC president that it was falsehood that the government was planning to sack Imo workers.

“We have looked at the way and manner the announcement was made and have directed workers not to obey such a directive because you cannot sack government workers without observing the rules.’’

He said all the listed organisations were government establishments founded by law.

“It is unacceptable for the governor to sack any of the workers without following the rules.’’

Mr. Chilakpu said until due process was followed, workers in the listed organisations should continue to do their lawful duties, adding that the NLC would follow up the matter.

Similarly, Livinus Asiegbu, the state Secretary, Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), in his reaction, described the development as mind-blowing.

“This kind of decision is unthinkable in civil service.’’

“We have never heard where government worker who did not commit any offence, will wake up to hear that he or she has been sacked without receiving query or being convicted by a law court for a criminal offence.’’

Mr. Asiegbu, who decried the non-payment of over two-year pension arrears said that allowing the governor to implement such action, would create a serious economic problem for the state.

“We gathered that workers affected in the directive are more than 5, 000.

If that is allowed to happen, it means anti-social acts would be on the increase in the state in the near future.

“I am calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the style of leadership of Okorocha before he will spoil show for the All Progressives Congress,’’ he said. (NAN)

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