The Chairman of the Kogi State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Onuh Edoka, has been axed from office, following allegation by the state government that he is a “ghost worker”.
Mr Edoka was among the 9,000 people sacked following a screening exercise to weed out illegal workers from the 21 local government areas of the state.
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Reacting to his dismissal on Wednesday, Edoka said:
“The General’s committee claims that I submitted the wrong bank statements. But they only asked for my statement of accounts for the past two years which I submitted.”
He also stated that the workers union would take to the streets to challenge the government’s actions.
He said: “The government just got a bailout based on the current staff strength. Suddenly they want to retrench workers to divert the funds even though some of these workers have not been paid for over 23 months.”
“The NLC is saying that these people are not ghost workers. They are living beings and we are ready to bring them out on the streets of Lokoja so that the world can see that they are not ghosts but real workers of Kogi state.”
Also speaking on the dismissal of the over 9,000 persons purportedly declared to be ‘ghost workers’ in Kogi state, Gbenga Olorunpomi, an aide to the Governor of the State, Yayaha Bello, said some of the workers who failed the screening exercise did not furnish the committee with the required information.
His words: “For example, many of them refused to supply their BVNs [Bank Verification Numbers]. This automatically brings up the question of why they don’t have BVNs if they don’t have anything to hide,” he said, adding that the current list is merely a preliminary list and that the said workers would be given the opportunity to rectify any deficiency.
“The governor has assured the people that no legitimate worker in Kogi state will be sacked. But there are some people who got into the system fraudulently. For those people, we have no apologies.”
In the meantime, the state Chairman of TUC, Comrade Ojo Ranti, who spoke on behalf of the Organised Labour, called on the government to withdraw the purported list of ‘cleared’ local government workers sent to the various councils within 24 hours as that was not known to Labour.