The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Imo chapter, has criticized the state government’s plan to concession some of its institutions, expressing fears that the policy would expose the people to serious danger.
The Chairman of NLC in the state, Austin Chilakpu, expressed the workers’ fears in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Owerri on Sunday.
Governor Rochas Okorocha on January 17 announced the sack of more than 5, 000 workers in 19 parastatal organizations, agencies and departments in the state, in line with the policy.
But Mr. Chilakpu said, “concessioning the primary health sector and the Imo State Agricultural Development Agency (ADP) for instance, is one big mistake that will expose the entire Imo people to danger.
“A lot of international donor agencies funding healthcare and food security programmes in the state would withdraw their support immediately these government outfits get into private hands.
“If Imo state goes ahead with the so-called concession policy, it means that the state would be cut off from assessing funds from IFAD, for instance.
“This international donor funds agriculture and polio eradication programmes in the country.
“I foresee a situation where cases of wild polio infection will re-surface in the state.
“The matter is made worse when the health workers are sacked and Lassa fever and bird flu are lurking around; the people will be endangered in the event of any outbreak.”
The chairman said the leadership of NLC was not opposed to reduction in the number of workforce of the state government, considering its dwindling resources.
“What NLC is kicking against is the faulty process because these workers are employed under the civil and public service rules.
“The statute book engaging them spelt out the ways and manners they shall be hired or fired,” he added.
Mr. Chilakpu said that already, the NLC had given seven days ultimatum to the state government to reverse the decision.
The NLC added that if the government failed to do that, labour would take the next step considered necessary.
He advised the affected workers to continue to report for duty despite the reported molestation by some groups who claimed to have been authorized by government to take over the affected establishments.