On Thursday morning, civil servants working in the Ministry of Works took action to block access to the ministry’s premises. Daily Trust learned that this protest occurred in response to the actions of the overseeing minister, Senator David Umahi, who had initially ordered the closure of the ministry’s gate due to some staff members arriving late for work,Daily Trust reports.
Although the minister later requested that the gate be reopened, the staff members refused to grant access, asserting that the minister had acted without prior warning or communication regarding his decision. One anonymous ministry staff member, fearing potential job repercussions, explained that the workers were retaliating against the minister’s management of the ministry.
According to the staff member, many ministry employees reside on the outskirts of Abuja, facing high transportation costs and traffic congestion during their daily commute to the office. He further expressed that the gate closure wasn’t solely about this issue; it was also a reaction to the minister’s autocratic management style since his appointment.
Additionally, he claimed that the minister had recently threatened to dismiss state comptrollers for what the staff perceived as trivial reasons.
The incident followed a press briefing on Tuesday in which the minister accused directors of inadequate contractor supervision and alleged collusion with them to inflate road contract costs. He attributed the short lifespan of roads in the country to this lax oversight and accused directors of having responsibility for road accidents and kidnappings.