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Friday, May 24, 2024

Hasty settling of sacked LWC staff emoluments a diversionary tactic by Lagos, AUPCTRE, RDI allege

The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) and the Renevlyn Development Initiative (RDI) have described the somewhat hasty payment of compensation and other benefits to the illegally disengaged staff of Lagos Water Corporation (LWC) by the Lagos State Government as a peremptory move to stall the reversal of the unpopular decision and clamour for investigation of the finances of the corporation since 1999.

Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State

A statement by the LWC on Sunday, May 12, 2024, had hailed Governor Sanwo-Olu for settling the emoluments and thanking him for bringing succour to the Corporation by the payments of all emoluments for the period from August 2011 up to Oct, Nov, Dec 2016 and till date. Accrued rights (bond) of the Corporation retirees up to Dec 2022 was also allegedly settled.

But AUPCTRE and RDI said the House of Assembly has agreed to wade into the matter and would be meeting with the leadership of AUPCTRE in the state this week hence the Lagos governor should wait for the outcomes.

A petition by AUPCTRE, the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) included recommendation for a probe of the finances of the corporation that were allegedly mismanaged by successive management since 1999.

AUPCTRE Lagos State Chapter Secretary, Abiodun Bakare, queried the rush of the Lagos State Government in settling the emoluments when the issues at stake revolve around the breach of due process in laying off 391 staff.

“We have spoken and marched to the Lagos State House of Assembly to demand the reversal of the illegal sack and the House has promised to look into the matter. So why is the executive arm of the government jumping the gun through this action?” he demanded.

RDI Executive Director, Philip Jakpor, said: “The speed with which the state government settled the emoluments is surprising and seems more like trying to arm-twist everyone into accepting the illegal action.”

Jakpor maintained that the sack of the workers on the grounds of redundancy is illegal and illogical, insisting that the woes of the corporation have nothing to do with staff as the LWC is understaffed and the waterworks across the state undermanned.

“The tone of the LWC statement commending the governor for settling of the emoluments is celebratory and clearly exposes the determination of the promoters of privatisation in the highest quarters of government to press on with the failed privatisation models for which the sack of the staff was carried out.

The two organisations encouraged the House of Assembly to remain undeterred in its promise to address the issues to ensure innocent workers do not end up as scapegoats for the actions of individuals playing out a script which has an endgame which is privatisation of Lagos water services.

They also re-echoed their demands which was submitted in a petition to the Lagos State House of Assembly. It includes the unconditional reinstatement of all disengaged staff of the LWC; Probe of all the water contracts awarded in Lagos since 1999, blacklisting of identified contractors and recouping of all monies diverted, as well as a halt to the ongoing privatisation plans of water in Lagos and termination of all partnerships and collaborations that aim to foist water privatisation on the state.

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