The Minister, Federal Capital Territory, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has lamented the conspiracy of silence over the misfortunes of the staff cooperative society, which became riddled with lack of accountability. He reiterated that he had called on the leaders to sanitize the agency as he had hoped to extend some grant to it so as to strengthen it as a channel for staff welfare. He expressed his worry over the inability of the staff to indict those who were involved in the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the cooperative.
FCT Minister made this declaration when he received the newly elected exco of the FCT Administration Joint Union Action Committee (JUAC) when they paid him a working visit.
Bello reiterated the Commitment of the Administration to the welfare and development of workers as long as there are extant circular and budgetary provisions to cover such packages.
He also expressed positive disposition to ensuring that officers who served the Administration well are duly appreciated as they exit from the service. He expressed concern about officers retiring from service without any indication that their various departments celebrated them.
He said the Administration will not oppose any welfare package for workers as long it was well articulated at the various departmental levels and budgetary provisions made by the relevant authorities to accommodate such schemes.
Speaking specifically on the issue of training for workers, the Minister said it is mandatory that training must be carried out for all workers under the FCT Administration between the 1st and 31st of January of every year. He regretted however that the representatives of workers do not effectively monitor the processes to ensure fairness and justice on the selection period, nor to make appropriate arrangements and provisions until it is too late in the year to address the issue.
According to him, “All these are supposed to be monitored by the union as you are the vanguards of the workers, you have to open your eyes to see if they are doing it or not. If we are going to follow correct civil service procedure, from first January to the end of January, there must be a training programme. It has to be done at the various departments. If there is a problem, confront the heads of the SDAs directly.”
Speaking on the issue of long service awards, Malam Bello said he was surprised that long serving staff of the FCTA were quietly walking away from the system after long service, without being mentioned for recognition, even though there is a possibility of effectively rewarding them.
The Minister noted ” …it’s very important that the Administration deemphasize the person of the Minister and emphasize the institutions by ensuring that every department should do their work and in that context, I want you to be rest assured that the Minister will not say no to anything that is within the law.”
Earlier in his remark, the JUAC Chairman Comrade Matilukoro Korede conveyed their appreciation to the Minister and the Permanent Secretary for their commitments towards the resolution of knotty issues affecting workers under the FCTA. He said the union has trust that the leadership will also do justice to other contending issues, adding, “by the time we see you again, we believe we will be telling you to help us thank the Permanent Secretary because he has done justice to these issues.
Korede Called on the Minister to look into the areas where there seems to be a lacuna in the FCT status in terms of policy documents and the constitution of Nigeria which is preventing FCTA workers from enjoying the same opportunities for contesting for the position of Permanent Secretary in the Federal Service.
He assured that FCTA has staff that can deliver on target and on time as have been exemplified by the achievements recorded by the present FCT Administration and should be allowed to do this at the federal level.
Other issues of concern included upgrade of rent allowances, welfare packages, proper recognition of retiring officers, and confirmation of Director, among others.
Chief Press Secretary
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