*Allege massive fraud
Workers of the Ministry of Information have staged a protest against what they described as the ministry’s negligence of staff welfare and alleged gross misappropriation of public funds. They also want the minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed sacked as a consequence.
They urged President Muhammadu Buhari to probe activities of the ministry over non-payment of allowances, refusal to train staff, among others.
The protesters, who chanted songs of displeasure and blocked the gate of the ministry, told reporters that they were subjected to work under poor conditions, delay of promotion arrears, non-payment of repatriation allowances and selective training of staff.
The Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants, Information Chapter, Adam Ogwola, recounted many challenges of the workers, in an environment they described as ‘unreceptive’.
Meanwhile, Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed has said that with inadequate resources, there is a limit the Federal Government can do on workers’ welfare.
Lai Mohammed stated this in a response to the protest by the various unions in his ministry demanding his removal for allegedly not addressing issues bordering on their welfare.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents, the minister said it was impossible for the government to address and meet the workers’ demands owing to paucity of funds.
He said: “It is not unusual for unions to call for the removal of ministers. Any minister should expect that.
They are complaining about welfare, but there is a limit to what government can do within the available resources.
“As much as we sympathise with them on the situation, the economy is simply not healthy enough to accommodate what it is used to accommodate in the past.
“If anybody is concerned and worried about expenditures in my ministry, they should go and check because it is open. We have appealed to them several times, but we met a culture that we cannot sustain.”