The Rot at the NIMC, Illegal Sack of 4029 Workers

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Letter from DG NIMC – Sacking 116 Junior Staffs Abrupty without severance pay

[The link above contains the sack letter of redundancy drafted to 4029 workers]


The declaration of redundancy of 4029 serving staff of the National Identity Card Commission (N.I.M.C.) has begun to unsettle many – all of them belonging to the junior cadre from grade level 6 and below – without accruing benefits or forward notice.  The abrupt sack which came as a surprise to the workers followed period of owed salaries by the Commission. Information available to 247ureports.com indicates that prior to the sack, up to ten [10] months salaries are owed the workers – before payments are remitted.

One of the affected workers – who has two children in higher institution narrated his tale as ‘unfortunate and desparate’. He stated that while the Director General of claims his sacking of over 400 workers was to reduce redundancy, the director has, in turn, launched a new recruitment exercise – geared towards selective recruitment of persons from his geo-cultural region. To date, the director has employed “116 new staff of the same cadre without due recourse to those whom he declared redundant“.

When the workers tabled their matter to the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Pius Anyim Pius, the Director pleaded with them to not discuss the issue of the abrupty sack – that he will arrange a befitting severance pay for the entire 4029. And so the matter was not raised.

Interestingly, the NIMC under the leadership of the current DG has shown a loyal disrespect for financial honesty. During the inaugural tenure of President Yar’adua, the director received N30 billion which he has yet to account for. According to a source, “the last time he requested for another N30Billion from the national assembly [NASS], they refused and asked him to account for the first amount already disbursed“. The slew of advertorials telling Nigerians to register for national IDs and NIN number all are ruses to cover up a massive fraud going on in the commission.

Other illegal and/or suspicious financial operations are abound.

Below is a recent publication by a respected Nigerian national daily, The Punch [September 6, 2012] 

Nine years after the $214m National Identity Card scam involving top government officials and politicians blew open, a court in Paris, France on Wednesday imposed a $600,000 (N94.2m) fine on a French firm, Safran, for bribing public officials in Nigeria.

Reuters reported that investigating magistrates found that the bribes which were offered between 2000 and 2003 helped Safran win a 170 million Euro contract to produce more than 70 million identity cards .

Safran, a 30 per cent state-owned defence and communications conglomerate, said it would appeal.

“Safran would like to point out that it is deeply attached to the strict respect of anti-corruption rules,” it added.

The company was created on May 11, 2005 with the merger of Snecma and Sagem SA.

Foreign corruption rulings against big French companies are rare in France.

A report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that was leaked in July said French authorities lacked the resources to fight possible corruption in big export contracts.

Prosecutors had originally sought to have the Safran case dismissed, but did not lodge any formal request at the trial in June. The court let off two of the company’s executives for whom the prosecutors had sought a suspended sentence of up to 18 months and fines of 15,000 Euros each.

Like all members of the OECD, France is part of the convention which criminalises bribery of foreign officials.

The Federal Government had in 2001 awarded a contract worth $214m to a consortium led by French firm, Sagem, for the production of identity cards for all Nigerian citizens.

The contract was marred in 2003 by allegations that Nigerian officials collected more than $2m bribes to influence the award of the contract.

The case involving former Internal Affairs Ministers, the late Chief Sunday Afolabi and Alhaji Mahammed Shatta; former Labour Minister, Hussain Akwanga and a former PDP National Chairman, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, has not been resolved.

Only a few Nigerians received identity cards under the scheme.

Nwodo was among Nigerian officials arrested, arraigned and detained in 2003.

He was prosecuted alongside others indicted in the scam, but the case was struck out on technical grounds but was not discharged.

The National Identity Management Commission established by the NIMC Act of 2007 has taken over the functions, assets and liabilities of the Department of the National Civil Registration which handled the identity card contract.

Attempts to speak with the Director-General of NIMC, Dr. Chris Onyemenem, on Wednesday proved abortive as he neither picked calls to his mobile phone nor replied text messages sent to him on the issue.

When contacted on Wednesday, the Head of Media and Publicity, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Wilson Uwujeren, promised to get back to our correspondents since the issues concerned took place “as far back as 2003.”

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