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Financial crisis: ICRC moves to shut Jos, PH offices, fire 150 Nigerian staff

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has concluded arrangements to sack over 100 staff from its workforce in Nigeria, Daily Trust can confirm.…

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has concluded arrangements to sack over 100 staff from its workforce in Nigeria, Daily Trust can confirm.

The development, according to credible sources within Nigerian offices of the organisation, is sequel to lack of adequate funds.

ICRC, a humanitarian organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, operates in over 100 countries globally, with staff strength of about 20,000 and over 800 in Nigeria.

Checks also showed that the organisation operates in 16 states across Nigeria, with offices in Plateau, Rivers, Borno  and Abuja.

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Speaking to Daily Trust on the condition of anonymity, a member staff disclosed that ICRC had concluded plans to shut down its offices in Jos and Port Harcourt, capital of Plateau and Rivers states.

The official said they did not take the issue seriously when ICRC Director-General, Robert Mardini, disclosed at a press briefing that the ICRC was debating cuts that could amount to 15% of its budget in frontline emergencies.

He said the organisation, according to an internal message that has already triggered a staff backlash, cited extensive funding shortages that arose from the Russia/Ukraine war.

“The issues are: ICRC passes through a very critical financial situation globally. A shortfall of 400 million Swiss Francs. Donors are more interested in funding Ukraine!

“About 140 million Swiss Francs to be cut from Nigeria’s budget – the largest in Africa. The institution may sack about 150 staff in the coming days in Nigeria!

“Already, salaries of national staff were cut by 25% in March 2023. The organization has resolved to close operations in Jos and Port Harcourt offices.

“Training, seminars and long-term operations have been frozen – until further notice,” the official told our correspondent.

Staff threaten protest, strike

Also speaking, another staff disclosed that they were not adequately informed when some decisions were being made, saying March 7 internal email message came as a shock to many.

He added, “National staff are planning for a stay-at-home protest tomorrow across Nigeria. This will mean grounding operations of the ICRC for weeks”.

When contacted, the spokesman of the ICRC in Nigeria, Aliyu Dawobe, described the matter as “something sensitive.”

He promised to get back to Daily Trust after getting necessary clearance to speak on the matter but he had not done so as at when filing this report.

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