House of Reps summon Chris Ngige over mass sacking by telecom operators

The House of Representatives on Monday summoned the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, over reported mass sacking of workers by telecommunications service providers in recent times.

An ad hoc committee of the House, which is chaired by Mr. Ahmed Abu, is investigating the development.

The committee gave Ngige the next 10 days to make himself available before lawmakers to address the issue.

The committee expressed worries that the service providers were reportedly laying off employees without observing extant labour rules and procedures.

The committee had summoned the minister soon after it met with the Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian communications commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, on Monday.

Ironically, the EVC had told the committee that the NCC could not interfere in the matter because, by the provision of the NCC’s Act, the commission was not empowered to make inquiries into the nominal roll of the operators.

He, however, shared the pains of the employees so far affected by the layoffs, saying that the current economic hardship would be heavier on their families.

He told lawmakers that the commission would prefer that the industry created more jobs as against laying off employees.

Danbatta noted that while the NCC was restrained by the Act, the labour ministry on the hand, could look into all labour issues in the country.

“These are labour issues and therefore, outside the mandate of the commission.

“There is really nothing that we can do”, he stated.