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WORKERS, THE SOUTH EAST GOVERNORS HAD BEEN SERIOUSLY CRITICIZED FOR FAILING TO TAKE A FIRM POSITION ON THE ISSUE

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By Tony Edike, Enugu
The decision of the Abia State Government to lay off non-indigenes in her civil service has been flayed by Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Enugu State House of Assembly who say that it can jeopardize unity  among the people of the Southeast.

The Igbo socio-cultural organization strongly condemned the disengagement of the non-indigene workers from Abia State civil service saying that the development was not in the interest of unity and progress of the Igbo nation.

Gov Chime
The Enugu State House of Assembly on its part is urging the Forum of the South East Governors headed by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State to wade into the matter with a view to getting the Chief Theodore Orji-led administration to rescind its decision.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Engr. Ralph Ndigwe who made the position of the organization on the issue known, said it was unbecoming of governors to ask non-indigenes to return to their states, now that the apex organization was doing everything possible to sustain the unity among Ndigbo.

Noting the efforts by Ohanaeze to resolve the dispute between organized labour and governments of the South Eastern states over the minimum wage, he said that the expulsion of non-indigene civil servants would jeopardize the efforts of the organization.

The Ohanaeze spokesman said:  'I am assuring you that we will look critically at this development, which is unjustifiable.  Ohanaeze has been begging workers to go back to work. We have also been asking government to look into the issue of minimum wage. But I think this dimension of asking workers to go back to their state is not right.

We are going to investigate it. 'Do you know that if you are sacking a non-indigene, you are sacking him and his family and all those dependent on him? Ohanaeze is going to meet to investigate this negative tendency because it is capable of  impacting negatively on the unity among Ndigbo to which Ohanaeze is very much committed.'

On their part, lawmakers at the Enugu State House of Assembly unanimously condemned the forceful transfer of non-indigenes in Abia State civil service back to their home states.  They maintained that the burden of the N18,000 minimum wage, which had become a national issue, was not a justifiable reason for laying off the workers.

The legislators urged the Abia State Government to retain the services of Enugu indigenes in its workforce in order to encourage mutual and sustainable corporate co-existence and peace in the South East zone.

Contributing to the motion brought by the Leader of the House, Sunday Ude-Okoye on the issue, the lawmakers called on both Abia and Enugu state governments to set up a committee to discuss the modalities of absorbing their respective workforce in terms of civil servants who are not indigenes of each state.

While urging the Abia State government to reinstate the displaced workers 'since virtually all the states in the South-East and beyond are represented in Enugu State civil service', the lawmakers, however, alerted the South East Governors' Forum on the likely dangers and inconveniences that might result from the retaliatory actions of other states in the zone.

Moving the motion which he brought under a matter of urgent public importance, the House leader noted that Enugu state indigenes affected by the action of the Abia state government 'do not in any way merit the way and manner Abia State government had thrown them out of their workforce hiding under the canopy of four unacceptable, irrational, reiterating and unconstitutional reasons.'

He pointed out that Enugu state indigenes resident in Abia state before her creation had lived there very peacefully, contributed immensely in various areas towards her development and assisted in moving the state forward in terms of commerce, social and political growth, adding that their children had education and became gainfully employed by the state government.

Ude-Okoye further stated that since the affected workers had spent their prime service period working for Abia State Government and most of them were about to retire while the rest have few years to retire, 'these great patriots deserve to be paid retirement benefits, when they retire from Abia State Government service and disengaging these group of workforce is forcing Enugu State Government to inherit payment of service rendered to another state.'

While calling on Abia State government to rescind its decision on the non-indigenes, the lawmaker described the action as a violation of section 42 (sub-section 1, 2 and 3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which stipulates that 'a citizen of Nigeria shall not be discriminated against.'

Speaking on the development, the Speaker of the House, Eugene Odoh, however, called for caution assuring that the matter would be taken before the South East Governors' Forum in order to seek amicable way of resolving it.

However, while pressure is being mounted on the Abia State Government to withdraw the sack letters already issued to the affected workers, the South East Governors had been seriously criticized for failing to take a firm position on the issue.Expulsion irks Ohaneze, Enugu House

On October 26, 2011 · In Politics
By Tony Edike, Enugu
The decision of the Abia State Government to lay off non-indigenes in her civil service has been flayed by Ohaneze Ndigbo and the Enugu State House of Assembly who say that it can jeopardize unity  among the people of the Southeast.

The Igbo socio-cultural organization strongly condemned the disengagement of the non-indigene workers from Abia State civil service saying that the development was not in the interest of unity and progress of the Igbo nation.

Gov Chime
The Enugu State House of Assembly on its part is urging the Forum of the South East Governors headed by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State to wade into the matter with a view to getting the Chief Theodore Orji-led administration to rescind its decision.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Engr. Ralph Ndigwe who made the position of the organization on the issue known, said it was unbecoming of governors to ask non-indigenes to return to their states, now that the apex organization was doing everything possible to sustain the unity among Ndigbo.

Noting the efforts by Ohanaeze to resolve the dispute between organized labour and governments of the South Eastern states over the minimum wage, he said that the expulsion of non-indigene civil servants would jeopardize the efforts of the organization.

The Ohanaeze spokesman said:  'I am assuring you that we will look critically at this development, which is unjustifiable.  Ohanaeze has been begging workers to go back to work. We have also been asking government to look into the issue of minimum wage. But I think this dimension of asking workers to go back to their state is not right.

We are going to investigate it. 'Do you know that if you are sacking a non-indigene, you are sacking him and his family and all those dependent on him? Ohanaeze is going to meet to investigate this negative tendency because it is capable of  impacting negatively on the unity among Ndigbo to which Ohanaeze is very much committed.'

On their part, lawmakers at the Enugu State House of Assembly unanimously condemned the forceful transfer of non-indigenes in Abia State civil service back to their home states.  They maintained that the burden of the N18,000 minimum wage, which had become a national issue, was not a justifiable reason for laying off the workers.

The legislators urged the Abia State Government to retain the services of Enugu indigenes in its workforce in order to encourage mutual and sustainable corporate co-existence and peace in the South East zone.

Contributing to the motion brought by the Leader of the House, Sunday Ude-Okoye on the issue, the lawmakers called on both Abia and Enugu state governments to set up a committee to discuss the modalities of absorbing their respective workforce in terms of civil servants who are not indigenes of each state.

While urging the Abia State government to reinstate the displaced workers 'since virtually all the states in the South-East and beyond are represented in Enugu State civil service', the lawmakers, however, alerted the South East Governors' Forum on the likely dangers and inconveniences that might result from the retaliatory actions of other states in the zone.

Moving the motion which he brought under a matter of urgent public importance, the House leader noted that Enugu state indigenes affected by the action of the Abia state government 'do not in any way merit the way and manner Abia State government had thrown them out of their workforce hiding under the canopy of four unacceptable, irrational, reiterating and unconstitutional reasons.'

He pointed out that Enugu state indigenes resident in Abia state before her creation had lived there very peacefully, contributed immensely in various areas towards her development and assisted in moving the state forward in terms of commerce, social and political growth, adding that their children had education and became gainfully employed by the state government.

Ude-Okoye further stated that since the affected workers had spent their prime service period working for Abia State Government and most of them were about to retire while the rest have few years to retire, 'these great patriots deserve to be paid retirement benefits, when they retire from Abia State Government service and disengaging these group of workforce is forcing Enugu State Government to inherit payment of service rendered to another state.'

While calling on Abia State government to rescind its decision on the non-indigenes, the lawmaker described the action as a violation of section 42 (sub-section 1, 2 and 3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which stipulates that 'a citizen of Nigeria shall not be discriminated against.'

Speaking on the development, the Speaker of the House, Eugene Odoh, however, called for caution assuring that the matter would be taken before the South East Governors' Forum in order to seek amicable way of resolving it.

However, while pressure is being mounted on the Abia State Government to withdraw the sack letters already issued to the affected workers, the South East Governors had been seriously criticized for failing to take a firm position on the issue.