Disturbances at Ministry of Works: Umahi holds emergency meeting of union leaders, warns directors over poor work attitude


After the disturbances in the Ministry of Works on Thursday, when the Minister, Engineer Dave Umahi locked out some civil servants who reported late to duty,
Umahi yesterday, called an emergency meeting of the directors, deputy directors and union leaders to address the poor work attitude in the ministry workers.

Although, the directors kept sealed lips after the meeting, it was learnt that the minister warned them against late-coming and absenteeism from work, as that is likely to earn them suspension.

Meanwhile, following the uneasy calm in the ministry, on Thursday, workers reported early to work, yesterday.

As at 9.30 am, over 90 per cent of workers, including directors and deputy directors were already seated in their offices. This is as against their usual reporting time when junior officers came to work by 11 am or 12 noon while directors and deputy directors sauntered into their offices by 2 pm and closed by 4pm or 4.30 pm.

Activities in the ministry went smoothly and quietly and productivity was high.

Coming from a private sector and from a state government, Umahi was shocked at the attitude of work by the federal government workers, especially directors of the ministry.

So, he had locked the gate at 9.am against late-comers.

Angered by the minister’s action, the public servants equally expressed their displeasure and confined the minister to his office; blocked the entrance gate and demanded an apology.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one of the workers said that Umahi’s action was not in tandem with the current hardship in the country and the fact that most staff reside in areas outside the city centre.

“Eventually, we had to call our colleagues who were already inside to inform them of what had happened. They came outside to join us, blocked the road and everywhere became messy.

“Even the governor of Lagos, Babatunde Sanwo-Olu, had to turn back because of the crowd.

“After about four hours, the minister came down to address us apologising that he didn’t give any directive.

“The union leaders had put off the lights so no one could do anything and that’s why everyone had no choice but to come outside.

“Fo me, it was insensitive for the minister to have done such a thing even though he denied it. Everyone in the country is just managing. Most of our workers stay very far from town and it is sad all of these happened today” he explained.

By 2.37 pm, most civil servants were on their seats contrary to other days when before 3.00pm majority of them had left office.

Yesterday, it was observed that the light that was put off during the protest had been restored but there was an unusual presence of security officers at strategic places.


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