By ANDREW OJIEZEL
The Orgnaised Labour under the umbrella of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) has disowned Mr Owen Udouwen.
The union who claimed that Owen Udouwen who is not member of the union, has been parading himself as the head of the unit of ASCSN in National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), however pointed out that the recognized ASCSN head in NHIS is Comrade Omomeji Abdul Razaq.
Likewise, the union criticized the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Professor Usman Yusuf, for allowing impostor, Owen Udouwen and few individuals to parade themselves as unit officers of the Association in the NHIS.
In a statement by the National President of the Association, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, and the Secretary General, Comrade Alade Lawal, the union stressed that the NHIS Executive Secretary has no right whatsoever under the law to decide for the union those to manage its affairs.
“We, therefore, reject in its entirety the decision by Professor Yusuf to be sponsoring one Owen Udouwen who had been making noise that he is the Unit Chairman of the ASCSN in the NHIS. We hereby disown Udouwem in its entirety because he is not representing the association and demand that Professor Yusuf should stop forthwith from meddling in the affairs of the association so as not to trigger off industrial crisis in the NHIS. Professor Yusuf has enough to do in NHIS if he is serious enough to accept that the job of Executive Secretary of NHIS is a serious one.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Unit Chairman of the ASCSN in the NHIS is Comrade Omomeji Abdul Razaq. There is no faction whatsoever in the Association and there is a ruling of the National Industrial Court (NIC) to that effect,” the Union stressed.
The Association recalled that when Professor Yusuf arrived at the NHIS, he wore the toga of an anti-corruption crusader and the Union pledged to cooperate with him.
In addition, ASCSN stated that “Events that are unfolding in the NHIS have however proved otherwise. As we write, the NHIS is enmeshed in endemic corruption thus necessitating the upper legislative Chamber (Senate) to turn its searchlight on the organization.”
The Union helmsmen posited that following the secondment of 15 persons into the NHIS, the Association kicked against the impunity and reported the management of the NHIS to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Presidency which then directed the Labour Ministry to intervene.
It pointed out that the Labour Ministry set up a Committee to look into the complaint of the Union and that members of the Committee were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health, NHIS and those of the ASCSN to examine the issue of Secondment and other labour related matters carried out by the NHIS Executive Secretary and report back.
“At the end of its assignment, the Committee reached an Agreement that the Secondment of 15 officers by the Management of the NHIS was illegal and the Executive Secretary of the NHIS was directed to send those so seconded packing to wherever they came from. Some of those seconded the committee found out were placed on level 15 as opposed to level 09 which they were in the establishments they came from.
“It was also resolved that all unit officers of the Association posted away from the NHIS headquarters by the Executive Secretary should be brought back to their desks.”
The ASCSN pointed out that in order to protect workers from arbitrary acts of employers, Conventions 87 and 98 of the ILO which Nigeria ratified stipulate that workers should not be dismissed or subjected to any prejudice because of Union membership or participation in Union activities.
“Besides, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has also in compliance with extant labour laws issued a position paper to the effect that Union officials cannot be transferred while serving their tenures in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)
“It is these salient issues that Professor Yusuf wants to sweep under the carpet and was therefore encouraging renegade groups to engage in image laundering for him forgetting that he cannot hide behind one finger.”
The Union then called on President Mohammadu Buhari to start looking beyond Professor Yusuf as regards the headship of NHIS as the lives of millions of enrollees whose health issues the NHIS is expected to perform oversight functions on are at great risk.