Staff of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have embarked on an indefinite strike leaving thousands of applicants stranded outside their offices.
The notice for the strike action was contained in a statement signed by the President of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, NIMC branch, Lucky Michael and its Secretary, Odia Victor.
The communique is the aftermath of a meeting convened by the association to discuss the state of the exposure of staff members to Covid-19 and the salary structure and its representation in the annual appropriation and irregularities in the conduct of promotion exercise amongst other welfare matters.
According to some reports, members of the association decided to go on strike to demand for better welfare packages from the government, more allowances for the registration of National Identity Number (NIN), which they described as an extra duty.
They also decried the lack of protective kits at their offices, which leaves them exposed to contracting the coronavirus disease as they attend to a huge crowd of applicants daily.
The statement from the association partly reads, “Consequent upon the just concluded congress of the above-mentioned association that took place on January 6, 2020, the unit executive directs all members of grade level 12 and below in the head office and state offices to report to their respective duty posts tomorrow January 7, 2020, and do nothing.
“All members at the local government offices and special centres are advised to stay away from their various centres as a task force and implementation committees would be on parade to ensure total compliance to the directive.”
Apart from the demand for allowance, the workers also told Channels Television that the government does not care about their safety.
They decried the lack of personal protective equipment at the office, saying they could get infected with COVID-19 as they attend to hundreds of residents daily.
The association also noted that staff members were infected with Covid-19 and adequate measures have not been taken to curtail its spread.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the Federal Government, on 15 December 2020, directed all telecom operators to block all phone lines that do not register on their networks with a valid National Identification Number.
Following a public outcry against the length of time of the sudden policy, the government gave 3 weeks extension for subscribers with NIN from December 30, 2020, to 19 January 2021, and also gave 6 weeks extension for subscribers without NIN from 30 December 2020 to 9 February 2021.
However, it is yet to be seen how this can be achieved within the stipulated time, considering a large number of Nigerians that are yet to have the NIN and the existing measures being implemented by the government due to the surge in the number of coronavirus cases across the country.
Currently, over 100 million Nigerians are yet to be registered which has caused huge crowds to gather at the various offices of NIMC in breach of the COVID-19 protocol.