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Minister meets NIMC workers tomorrow as ultimatum lapses Friday

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Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami. Photo: TWITTER/FMOCDENIGERIA

• Union threatens strike if it gets less than least 60% of demands
• Commission begins enrolment of diplomats

Indications emerged yesterday of a possible meeting between the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami and workers of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) tomorrow in Abuja.

The anticipated parley comes four days to the January 29 expiration date of the 21-day ultimatum handed to the Federal Government by the local chapter of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) after it called off a two-day strike to agitate for a better working condition and special protection from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workers embarked on the industrial action on January 7, but called it off the next day after the minister’s intervention. Enrolment, however, didn’t resume until January 11.

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Chairman of the NIMC chapter of ASCSN, Lucky Asekokhai, who confirmed the development at the weekend, said, “much is expected from the meeting.”

According to him, the workers are not expecting too much from the government official, “but we expect the minister to at least help us with working tools as requested. These working tools will help us concentrate and see how we can reduce the crowd at every NIMC outlet and centre across the country, and ensure that the February 9 deadline, to a great extent, works. As we speak, there are still shortages of computers and other equipment that could fast-track the enrolment process.”

He added: “Once these tools are provided, we the workers will be able to work efficiently. I must also say that this will also be an opportunity for us to protect ourselves, especially from COVID-19.”

Acknowledging that management had begun distribution of personal protective equipment to employees, Asekokhai, however, noted that they were insufficient.

He observed that the issue of welfare has a running discussion, stating: “Workers’ welfare is critical to the success of NIMC and even this current enrolment. The challenge is that there is no continuity in government.”

The ASCSN chair threatened that if the demands were not met, they would be forced to shut down the entire process.

To him, if the Federal Government could meet 60 per cent of their demands, the workers would score it a pass mark.

MEANWHILE, the NIMC said it had commenced enrolment of foreign diplomats in Nigeria.

A statement signed by its spokesperson, Kayode Adegoke, said the minister ordered the establishment of an enrolment center at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja. The exercise began on January 18.

He reassured Nigerians that of his organisation’s readiness to capture all legal residents in the National Identity Database.

On January 17, the Federal Government announced that the National Identification Number (NIN) was mandatory for diplomats and other lawful residents in the country.

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COVID-19Isa PantamiNIMC
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