The Staff of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), on Monday embarked on a nationwide indefinite strike over what they termed “maladministration, incompetence and inefficiency” of the current Director General, Engr. Mustafa Maihaja.
The staff, through the Chairman of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) of the agency, Justin Uche, said that since assumption of office in April 2017, Maihaja grounded major humanitarian and emergency response operations of NEMA offices across the country.
They claimed collapse of Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Emergency Response Vehicles, Air Ambulance and the Helicopter that cost the Federal Government of Nigeria over $100 million tax payers money to put in place.
The staff carried placards with inscriptions such as ‘Mustapha Maihaja must go’; ‘Maihaja is a Disaster to Disaster Management’; ‘NEMA has no working tools’; ‘Maihaja turns NEMA to personal property’; ‘Mustapha, we are tired of Aluta, pay our claims or resign, enough is enough’.
Others read: ‘No hazard allowance, no life assurance cover’; ‘Who will die next’; ‘No promotion exercise’; ‘Give us training it is statutory’; ‘Maihaja is an electrician, we are humanitarian’.
The staff also complained of the non-payment of their allowances, refusal to renew personnel life assurance, lack of training, non-payment of hazard allowances, Improper placement, promotion among other contentious issues.
They condemned the refusal of NEMA boss to reinstate suspended senior officers as directed by the House Committee on Disaster Management.
The union leaders said that despite several letters of threat issued in the past, the management had yet to respond positively to their demands, while the Director General ignored their threats and travelled to Moscow.
They recalled that in one of the letter addressed to NEMA management dated 20th February 2018 and signed by the NEMA unit chairman, Ibrahim sa’ad Bello which, the ASCSN warmed of the consequences of non-implementation of the terms of agreement.
The letter decried that the management has introduced a ‘divide and rule’ by using nepotism through the introduction of extra duties allowance which is paid only to those considered their loyalists.
According to the union, the development had further polarized the staff members and add up to their frustrations precipitating pent-up feelings capable of demoralizing them and their performance.
The letter also noted that the current exercise on emergency food intervention in the North East(EFINE) staff claims(DTA) were short-changed after spending a good number of days in the field waiting for relief materials or could not finish distribution within the stipulated time frame.
The workers also lamented the office/working environment which were no longer conducive as it lacked enough lightening, non-ffunctional air-conditioners, drinking water among others adding that the situation is even worse in Zonal and Operations offices across the country due to the insensitive posture of Maihaja.