By Ukpono Ukpong
Workers under the aegis of Joint Unions Action Committee (JUAC) in the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) yesterday grounded government activities with the commencement of 3 days warning strike following government’s failure to implement the FCT Civil Service Commission Act.
The workers said the grandstanding of FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello over the Act signed three years ago by President Muhammadu Buhari, has put their fate hanging in the air for too long, and it can’t be allowed.
They accused the administration of double-standards, saying that a 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 FCT Civil Service Commission Act, already signed by the President three years ago.
The workers alleged that the serving Permanent Secretary who was deployed from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation is occupying an illegal position, because the Act provides for an FCT Head of Service instead.
Speaking to Journalists, the Chairman of JUAC, Matilukoro Korede, said that workers are determined to ground all government activities in FCTA untill FCT Civil Service Commission Act is fully implemented.
He explained that workers patience has been exhausted, as the administration has refused to do the needful, after several meetings with the labour leaders.
According to him, workers have been resillient in demanding for the implementation of Executive Order 1 of 2004, which abolished the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory, long before the signing of Act which has given FCT workers to advance in the Service like their counterparts in the states.
It will also give opportunity to FCT workers to advance more in administrative cadre, while a qualified worker from the system can be appointed FCT Head of Service, as obtained in states.
The holistic implementation of the Executive Order 1 of 2004, and the FCT Civil Service Commission would ensure the removal of the Permanent Secretary who was posted from the Office of the Civil Service of the Federation amongst others.
“This is three years down the line, the big question is why has it been difficult to implement it till date?
“It was a huge relief when the National Assembly harkened to the voice of the staff of the FCT Administration, by enacting, passed into law and Gazetted (with the consent of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria) the FCT-Civil Service Commission in 2018.
“This is three years down the line, the big question is why has it been difficult to implement it till date? The FCT-Civil Service Commission was created by an Act of parliament, just like the Federal Civil Service Commission and those of the States Civil Service Commission, with primary responsibility of appointment.”
Among the demands of the workers are “the removal of all FCTA staff from the Accountant General of the Federation’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
Others include immediate “release of all pending cases of conversion, upgrading and Advancement, and abolishment of casualization of workers on FCTA, and especially in Transportation Secretariat, Water Board and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board. Promotion and discipline, also known as (APD), within the FCT,” Korede said.
Our correspondent also gathered that the angry workers’ outrage over non-implementation of the FCT Civil Service Commission Act, is becoming louder now because the Permanent Secretary who is perceived to be occupying an ‘illegal’ position is also stifling administrative procedures.
The source noted that the current Permanent Secretary, Olusade Adesola has adopted several beaurecratic bottlenecks, as well as procedural obstacles which the workers are not very comfortable with and as such the Union leaders are bent on pressing for the implementation of the Executive Order 1, so that a Head of Service who understands the plight of workers can emerge.
Checks by our correspondent has revealed that customers and visitors were left stranded at some of the strategic FCTA agencies, like Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) Department of Development Control, Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS), just as school teachers and health workers is said to have concluded arrangement to join the ongoing strike.