By Taiye Elebiyo-Edeni
Staff of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Tuesday stage a peaceful protest at its headquarters over poor condition of service and redundancy.
Mr Justin Uwazuruonye, the Chairman of Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), NEMA Unit, who spoke on behalf of the staff in Abuja, appealed to the Federal Government to investigate the matter.
According to him, there is the need for the Federal Government to hear their side of the story.
“You can see that we are peaceful people, what we are demanding is that NEMA starts to work again, in the past one year do you have any annual report? No, we have been redundant.
“Let the government ask Maihaja to produce the annual report for the past one year; he came here, we want them (government) to come here and inspect and hear our side of the story.
`Not only our condition of service, the other people were paying us the same money, we didn’t talk but this time you come to the office, you stay hours without doing anything, we don’t have tools to work.
“No papers, no biro, they are killing our morale and that is our problems. They should pay us what is due to us as workers, and we will stand on it, let them come and hear us.
“Even the police themselves know the truth and we have been working with them, they know that NEMA is no longer working, let them put a call through to our call centre now it will not go.
“Let there be accident on the road now, there will be nobody to response from NEMA, no diesel, no battery in the car.
“Corruption is not only to take money, we have what we call moral corruption, Management is morally bankrupt.”
The chairman further said that the present administration was doing its best in providing all the necessary support needed by the agency for prompt response, but it is not being actualised.
Ms. Maryam Yau, Senior Disaster Risk Reduction Officer said Nigeria was taking the lead before in Africa for prompt response in disaster management but the case was different presently.
She said the current NEMA administration has grounded the agency, stating that they come to work without being productive while disaster has increased without response.
“Disaster continues to increase in this country but people are not being helped, the government is doing its best, the government is giving the appropriate funding for us to actually response to the people but is not happening.
“It is so frustrating, our ambulance are beside the road not working, where is the effort of all the previous administration, Nigeria has been setting pace in disaster management in Africa.
“We have been doing well, we go to other countries to train them on disaster management but now we can’t, we need to work please, we are begging the government.”
Responding, Mr Sani Datti, Head of Media and Public Relations, NEMA, noted in a statement, that the management insists there is no justification for an industrial action.
Datti said that most of the demands of the staff have either been addressed or are currently being addressed.
He said that in September 2017, an agreement was reached which included settlement of outstanding Overtime Allowance, payment of DTAs and other claims, which have accrued (since 2015) are being settled in batches.
“On the issue of staff promotion, the Department of Human Resources Management has concluded preparations, briefs and other related cases, such as conversion, upgrading and confirmation, among others.
“The Renewal of Group Life Insurance, which is at the centre of the present disagreement have been approved after going through rigorous due process.
“However, the commitment of government was invigorated by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“A meeting was convened between the NEMA management and the Union’s officials and it addressed the government efforts to providing better condition of service for NEMA staff”.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the agency started its strike on June 11 on the ground that the agency Emergency Response Ambulance Bays that responded to over 1000 incidences in 2015 has been grounded.
The Agency cannot respond to emergencies anywhere in Nigeria as the call centres have been grounded as well as all response vehicles.