by crossriverwatch admin
Uneasy calm still pervade the Cross River State Civil Service as workers in the state employment have accused the State Government through the Head of Service , Mrs. Mary Theresa Ikwen and the Nigerian Labour Congress in the state headed by Comrade John Ushie, of conniving to force laptops on workers at a very high cost.
The State Government commenced the deduction of more than N7,000 from each of the affected civil servants April salary without formal consultation with workers directly by the State Government or through the leadership of NLC on the issue.
Some civil servants who spoke to CrossRiverWatch on condition of anonymity for fear of victimization accused the government of compromising the leadership of the NLC in the state to keep sealed lips over the policy. One of them said: “We gathered that the NLC in the state has kept sealed lips on the issue because they have been bought over by government with a brand new car to the chairman and a choice parcel of land, hence they have left workers at the mercies of the whims and caprices of government greed”.
They also regard as porous and selfish the argument by the Head of Service Mrs. Mary-Theresa Ikwen that the program was for the good of workers and to make them “proficient and computer literate.”
“It is the duty of government to provide computers for its offices in this digital age and train its work force on computer operations and not civil servants forced to buy laptops at a very high price to work for government.
“It is callous and playing God by Imoke leadership. This action does not in any way resemble democracy in any form, but a totalitarian regime”, the angry workers said.
They also argued that the contract for the laptop awarded to First Bright Way Vision Limited, a Delta based firm at a unit price of N115,000, that is more than N35,000 above the market price for a HP 4-gigabites is fraudulent and that the HOS explanation that the difference in price is for the upgrading to 4-gigabites, inclusion of more applications/software and a two-day training workshop for beneficiaries does not hold water.
“This is so because, buying goods in bulk drastically brings down the unit price, again, the HOS argument/explanation means that it is the workers who now pay for workshop training that are purely the responsibility of the government” they said.
It was also learnt that during the workers day, Senator Liyel Imoke said that government was going to subsidize the laptop for workers, but never said the amount or whether the subsidy is inside the N 115,000 or outside.
Another vexing issue according to our investigation is that some of the staff whose salaries are being deducted currently have one or two laptops earlier gotten from government or bought directly from the market and are still being required to get the current laptop.
Again, other workers are currently on bank loans for two or three years which the state government and the office of HOS and Accountant General in particular are aware and were the guarantors, yet they feel comfortable to place more burden on these category of workers.
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