WORKERS in the Governor’s Office, Calabar, Cross River State, were yesterday, locked out of their offices on the instruction of the state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, at 7.33a.m., when he arrived his office and found that most workers were yet to report for work.
Ayade, according to a source, arrived his office about 7.20 a.m., to find the entire place almost desolate as most workers, including cleaners, were yet to show up at their duty posts, a situation which irked the governor, causing him to instruct his security aides to shut the gate at 7.33 a.m. Those locked out include Mrs Tina Agbor, Secretary to State Government, and other principal political office holders whose offices were within the precinct of the Governor’s Office.
“His Excellency arrived here about 7.20 a.m., and the entire place was like a ghost town. He went into his office and after about 15 minutes, most of the people he needed to work with were not yet on their seats, so he asked us to lock the gate,” a security aide to the governor told Vanguard.
The source said the governor was scheduled to host a team from the Cross River Basin Development Authority at 9a.m., and the Managing Director of First Bank at 12p.m.
He reported early to the office and to his chagrin found that most of the workers were not on seat. One of the workers at the gate said the resumption time for civil servants, as contained in the state’s Civil Service Rules, is 8a.m., noting that the governor locking the gate at 7.33a.m., was unusual. “We know that the resumption time for civil servants is 8a.m., as contained in the Cross River State Civil Service Rules. But since the governor wants us to resume at 7.33 a.m., we have taken the correction and shall be coming here at that time,” she said
Mr Chris Ita, Chief Press Secretary to the governor, told Vanguard that this was not the first time his boss was locking out workers for reporting late to work, saying he wouldn’t know if the governor was going to undertake any punitive measure against the workers but no action was taken apart from the humiliation they suffered.
At 12noon when Vanguard left the place, most workers were still outside the gate while some were seen pleading with the security men to allow them inside.
“I don’t want to pre-empt His Excellency on the action he plans to take this time but the last time he did it, he said it was to expose the late comers to the humiliation of being locked out of their offices so that they would take correction and stop coming to work late.”
Mr John Ushie, the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Chairman in the state, said the union has no hands in the lock out of workers by the governor since he has the rights to discipline workers at any time.
“Go and ask the governor who locked out the workers and not NLC ; why should we react because the governor locked out workers who report late to work?” he queried As at 12noon, when Vanguard left the place, most workers were still outside the gate standing while some were seen pleading with the security men to allow them inside.