By Chukwuemeka Opara
Abakaliki – Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has barred political office holders and senior civil servants from participating in the ongoing strike by the organised labour in the country.
Umahi, who gave the directive on Friday in a statement he personally signed, also directed that no public office should be closed during the strike.
According to the statement senior civil servants from grade level 12 and above should not for any reason, join the strike as they and all political appointees should be at their duty posts.
The governor also condemned the compliance to the strike by the state’s workers in spite of what he called the magnanimity of his administration toward them.
Umahi said that he expected the state’s workers to be the last to join any strike “because of the governor’s friendly posture and determination to empower them at all times.
“This as can be seen through the agricultural loans to improve their economic status as the government will not be the last to pay any acceptable national minimum wage to the workers.
“This is in spite of the fact that the state receives the least allocation from the federation account and it should make workers shun the evil machinations of haters of the state.
“Workers should instead, join hand with the government to ensure the rapid development of the state for the overall interest of all,” he said.
According to him, it is unlawful for workers to adhere to the strike’s announcements not backed by organised labour.
“Proceeding on such strikes any time there is such announcement is unlawful and a total departure from the regular procedure.
“Workers should remember the magnanimity of the governor and the welfare packages given to them freely and religiously by the government such as the Christmas bonuses and the 13th month payment.
“Such gestures can hardly be seen in any other state in Nigeria and this should be appreciated by the workers,” he said.
Reacting, Mr Leonard Nkah, the state Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), said that workers in the state appreciated all the governor’s gestures, adding, however, that “the present situation is complex”.
“The workers received the notice of the strike from the headquarters of their various labour unions and it could have been suicidal not to adhere to such notices,” he said.