The chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) unit, Lucky Asekokha, has said the staff of NIMC are among the worst paid federal workers.
In a statement to newsmen, Mr. Asekokha said the staff, who operate the National Identity Database (NIDB) housing the private data of all Nigerians and legal residents are perfect examples of corporate “beggars”.
“NIMC staff are perfect examples of corporate ‘beggars’ who in order to populate the database have to beg members of the public generally and public-spirited individuals for fuel, data, toner, mouse, keyboards, etc. as if these items are not yearly budgeted by the Commission,” he said.
He also attributed some of the failures in the commission to the DG, Abubakar Aziz, who according to him, “has zero staff welfare policies”.
Mr Asekokha explained that since Mr Aziz took over as NIMC DG, staff salaries “had been low”.
“The salary has been going unexplainable anticlockwise, even after promotion, most staff are earning less than they were earning before the promotion, which is practically demotion.”
Using the commission’s level 8 as an example, he said a level 8 staffer earned N84,000 in 2015, “then it reduced to N75,000 in 2016; N73,000 in 2017; N71,000 in 2018 then it became N48,000 in 2019 while their staff appointment letters read N54,000 when divided by 12 months”.
“Since September 2018, after joining IPPIS till date, NIMC staff salaries have been without any allowances attached, even the Salah and Easter Bonuses enjoyed by most MDAs under the SGF did not get to the staff.
The Union’s efforts to redress these injustices had hit a dead end as NIMC Management every year will spring one lie or memo promising staff Salary Scale approval or payment to start upon passage of the Budget.
“If the Federal Government does not intervene to address the issues of welfare in NIMC, Nigerian privacy data in the NIDB is in a serious threat of compromise and misuse,” he said.
He also said when the union noticed that increases in salaries were not captured in the recently passed 2019 budget as promised, and after the death of about six NIMC staff this year over preventable illnesses, the union forwarded a letter of negotiations to NIMC management on June 6.
The union leader said he copied the SGF and ASCSN but according to him, the Management is yet to respond.
NIMC, according to Mr. Asekokha, is equivalent to USA Social Security Number (SSN), UK’s National Insurance Number (NINO), France’s INSEE Code, Indian UIDAI, etc.
He said staff of other countries managing their databases are well catered for.
“NIMC Nigeria’s key foundational identification systems suffer from low coverage, staff welfare crises induced by her DG who cares more of the enrollment figures into the NIDB without funding than for the staff who are working hard to populate database and the security of such data.”
In a phone interview with newsmen, the spokesperson of the NIMC, Loveday Ogbonna, said he will not comment on the issues raised by the union, “as the matter is no longer a secret”. He, however, said the agency is looking into the matter.
“The story is already out there but I can’t say yes or no on this. You have done a great job by contacting me but I choose to be neutral on this issue.
“The organisation is looking into it because these are internal things that should be sorted within the organisation,” he said.