The staff of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) have grounded government business as they demand the removal of the FCTA Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola.
The usually busy premises of the national capital’s bureaucracy was deserted with scanty car parks and empty offices.
The industrial action, which commenced on Monday as a warning to press home demands of the Joint Unions Action Committee (JUAC) has left customers of the key agencies in the FCTA stranded.
Our checks revealed that customers Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Department of Development Control, Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) were left frustrated as they could not get services for waste management and evacuation, land processing and building approvals from the aforementioned strategic agencies.
Activities at key secretariats of the FCTA such as Health and Human Services, Agriculture and Rural Development, Transport and Education were in a lull.
It was also learnt that school teachers and health workers would soon join the ongoing strike if their demands were not met.
The workers under the aegis of JUAC, are demanding the take-off of the FCT Civil Service Commission, which according to them was to be established soon after the FCT Civil Service Commission Act was accented to by President Muhammadu Buhari since 2018.
They accused the administration of double-standards, saying that government that claims to be transparent cannot continue to retain a Permanent Secretary deployed from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, against the spirit and intent of the already signed act.
They alleged Mr. Adesola was occupying an illegal position, because the Act provides for an FCT Head of Service instead.
Chairman of Joint Unions Action Committee (JUAC) in FCTA and FCDA, Matilukoro Korede, said the administration had ignored the workers agitation for the implementation of the Act and other issues that border on workers welfare for too long.
Korede noted that the strike action is likely going to be indefinite, until the administration heeds the call to implement the act.
He further said the union had severally called the attention of government and other stakeholders to the existence of Executive Order 1 of 2004, even before the passage of the FCT Civil Service Commission Bill by National Assembly and its subsequent signing into law, insisting that the refusal to implement the law has a negative impact on workers.
“This is three years down the line, the big question is why it has been difficult to implement it till date?” he added.
Daily Trust further learnt that the workers are outraged against the permanent secretary for adopting stiff administrative procedures that impede the smooth running of government business.
Meanwhile, there seems to be no respite for the embattled permanent secretary as FCT chapters of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) joined the fray, threatening to formally write FCT Minister and expand demands of the angry workers.
Daily Trust further learnt that the three unions met with FCT Permanent Secretary and other top management staff of the FCTA.
Chairman FCT NLC, Abubakar Yakubu, said an expanded demand letter would be sent to FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello to further strengthen the agitations of workers.
FCT TUC Chairman, Ahmodu Olayinka, who confirmed that the meeting was inconclusive, also noted that regrettably, FCT administration could not address any of the 17 items in the demands of the workers.
JUAC Chairman, Matilukoro Korode, said the leadership of NLC and TUC vowed that even after the warning strike, workers may proceed on an indefinite strike depending on the outcome of the ongoing meeting.
FCTA Director of Human Resources, Mohammed Bashir, who acknowledged that the lingering labour crisis was created by the communication gap between management and workers, assured that the demands of JUAC were being addressed.
According to him, the implementation of the FCT-Civil Service Commission was topmost in the labour issues, which FCT Administration was paying attention to.
“We discovered that the gap in communication really contributed to the issues of JUAC particularly the implementation of the FCT-Civil Service Commission that was approved by the National Assembly and signed by the President,” he said.