The umbrella bodies of workers, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Kaduna State, have kicked against the plan by the state government to sell 1,990 government quarters public auction, based on their open-market value.
The labour unions said, the Civil Servants working for the state government and occupying these quarters were never given option of first refusal before the extension of offer to the general public, a situation they described as unfortunate and unacceptable.
A statement jointly signed by the Chairmen of NLC, Comrade Adamu Ango and TUC, Comrade Shehu Mohammed said, “the entire workers of Kaduna State Government were taken aback by a paid advert in the Daily Trust Newspaper, Vol.42 No. 1 of Monday 27th February, 2017, relating to the sales of government quarters in the state to the political office holders disguised in the name of highest bidders”.
The government had said that, in order to cut the cost of maintaining the government quarters, it has decided to sell about 1,990 of its non-essential residential quarters.
The full list of available properties is placed on the state website, indicating that, about 1,990 houses are to be sold by means of a public auction based on their open-market value.
The government said, the decision to sell the houses was endorsed by the State Executive Council.
Meanwhile, the labour movement in its reaction stated further that, “The decision of the Kaduna State Executive Council was without recourse to all relevant stakeholders in the state especially the workers of Kaduna State who are the creators of wealth and the legal occupants of these properties.
“It is rather, very unfortunate that the Civil Servants working for the state government and that are currently occupying these quarters were never given option of first refusal before the extension of offer to the general public.
“Another area of concern to the public servants of the state, who receives peanut as salaries and wages when compared with those of the political office holders of the state, was the mode of payments for these quarters after being sold to the individual buyers. That is, payment of 25% of purchase price (including 10% non-refundable deposit), must be made to the Kaduna State Government within 90 days of being declared winner. Balance of 75% must be paid by all purchasers within an additional 90 days, thus, all purchasers must effect full payment within 180 days of contract.
“From the above condition, tell me which Civil Servant of the State can afford this payment? This condition in the first instance is contrary to the provision of the Federal Government Mortgage Bank arrangement of issuing loans to the Civil Servants from all over the federation.
“We make haste to advice that the Kaduna State Government should borrow a leaf from the Federal Government which in its monetization progromme gave workers who are the legal occupants of government houses an unconditional right/option of first refusal, this is more so that the Federal Government policy was midwife by the selfsame Mallam Nasiru El-Rufa’i”, the statement read.