The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) insists there is no tension over the issue of minimum wage and that complainants and staff across the 36 states of the federation are going about their lawful business without any disruption, molestation or any tension around the offices.
Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu Esq stated this while reacting to erroneous media report particularly on the Sun Newspaper dated 15th July 2020 captioned “Tension in human rights commission over minimum wage”.
The commission uses this medium to call on its visitors and staff across the country to be wary of malicious information from misguided forces that could prevent them from carrying out their duties as human rights defenders.
The Commission expresses its determination to continue to encourage members of the public to access its services of promotion, protection and enforcement of their fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended as well as other human rights instruments to which Nigeria is a party.
Although there was a planned industrial action by the NHRC unit of Nigerian Civil Service Union (NCSU) which was scheduled to take place today, 16/7/20, this did not take place. This is because after due consideration of the urgency involved in preserving the rights of Nigerians to access the services of the commission especially by lodging complaints of human rights violation, which would have been disrupted by the purported industrial action, the commission approached the national industrial court which issued an order to stop the intended disruption of business at NHRC offices pending the determination of issues of contention.
It would be recalled that this is the 4th attempt by the union to disrupt the commission from carrying out its statutory mandate of promotion and protection of human rights by the misguided Union leadership supported by the erstwhile chairman of the commission.
The union and its cohort had sometimes in 2019 sued the commission to court over the implementation of the provision of the civil service rule on oath of secrecy which failed, and now they are using the case of minimum wage as a reason to achieve their unpopular plan. The Union is tele-guided by the former chairman and unable to act independently for the welfare of the members hence the failure of its 4th attempt at locking the NHRC premises each time on flimsy, uninformed and misguided reasons.
The commission urges its staff to desist from being used by the union guided by a person who led the commission for 5 years but could not even approve their draft conditions of service document, only to tell them that they did not even deserve their salary not to talk of improving same, meaning that staff welfare was never his priority.
It is ironic that this same person has turned round to pretend solidarity with staff at a time Management is taking monumental steps to improve on staff conditions of service (the protection allowance etc.).
The issue of minimum wage to MDAs on statutory transfer is not peculiar to the Commission alone and should not be a cause for industrial action at this time. No agency has threatened to embark on industrial action except the NHRC Union, this is because they are unreasonably being brain washed and instigated by outside forces, not minding the offer by the Management to reduce existing welfare packages to make up for funds to pay the new minimum wage pending when issues around minimum wage and arrears are sorted out for all MDAs on statutory transfer. These include PCC, INEC, NASS, NJC, UBEC etc. The management therefor took decisive steps to ensure the union leadership is properly guided so as not to mislead staff members. As at now, all NHRC offices nationwide are open for business and complainants are free to access the services of the commission. All the senior staff are on duty to attend to complainants. Due to covid 19 regulations, all junior staff and officers on and below grade level 13 are working from home unless those on essential services. It will be recalled the National civil service union is the association of junior officers in the civil service.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS.