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NASS probes DG NEMA as Osinbajo orders negotiation with striking workers

The House of Representative Committee on Emergency, Preparedness and Disaster Management of the National Assembly (NASS) has commenced investigation into the allegation of high-handedness, maladministration and corruption against the new Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja.

An official letter addressed to Management of NEMA as well as Staff Union by the Clerk of the Committee, Sulyman Mohammed Sarkin-Noma, stated that: “Sequel to the industrial action embarked upon by the staff, the Committee resolved to convene a meeting with the DG NEMA, Management team and the representatives of the workforce on Monday October 23, 2017  at NASS Complex.”

Meanwhile, the swift intervention of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo last week has curtailed the indefinite strike action embarked upon by the entire workers of the NEMA country-wide and prevented untold hardship to the already deplorable condition of inhabitants of IDP camps across the country.

Because of the recalcitrant and unyielding attitude of Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaji which give image problem to the federal government, the NEMA boss was compelled to negotiate and approve some of the demands of the workers at a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Labour.

A Presidency source disclosed that “The Office of the Vice President which was not comfortable with the attitude of the new NEMA DG to the legitimate demands of emergency workers, had ordered Maihaja to enter into negotiations with the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria(ASCSN) in conjunction with the Minister of Labour and Employment.

“This is the first time that staff of NEMA, as an emergency and crisis management outfit would embark on an industrial action since its inception over a decade ago.”

Consequent upon the intervention of the Presidency towards controlling bad image to the government over the strike, a meeting was held at the behest of the Labour Minister who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Bolaji Adebiyi.

A memorandum of Terms of agreement at the end of the meeting was signed and endorsed by the NEMA DG himself, Engr Maihaja; Legal Adviser Umar Mohammed, Representative of ASCSN Comrade Isaac Ojemhenke and NEMA Labour Chairman, Comrade Saad Bello.

In the memorandum, the parties agreed to set up an implementation committee comprising the Union, NEMA management to be chaired by the Director of Finance at the Labour Ministry to facilitate the verification and commencement of staff claims by Tuesday, October 24, 2017.

It was also agreed that NEMA management should work with the union to conclude the process of acquiring the Assurance Policy for the staff within one week and come up with a compensation package for the families of deceased staff in line with the provisions of the public service rules.

On the DG’s refusal to carry out staff training and manpower development, it was again agreed that a training schedule using the existing template be drawn to accommodate all the staff and training needs of all departments within two weeks and report monitoring and compliance.

On the vindictive posting of the Unit Vice Chairman and Treasurer respectively, the DG was ordered to issue recall letters latest by October 20th, 2017 unfailingly, adding that no member of the Association shall be victimized as a result of the industrial action.

Other issues trashed at the meeting include hazard allowance, separation of women from their families, proper placement and promotion.

The new agreement followed the uncooperative attitude and dictatorial tendencies of the new DG NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Maijhaja on the legitimate entitlements of staff which necessitated the indefinite nationwide strike last week where all NEMA offices across the Federation were shut down before the Vice President’s intervention.

Some of the placards pasted at the gates of NEMA offices during the strike read “Mustapha Maihaja must go,” “Mustapha we are tired of your nonchalant attitude to our plight, pay our claims or resign, enough is enough,” “Stop Award of contract without due process,” “Maihaja is an electrician, we are humanitarian,” “Maihaja is inexperienced and a disaster” among others.

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