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Umahi eats humble pie, apologises to ministry staff after locking them out



Minister of Works and Housing, Dave Umahi, has apologised to staff of the ministry after he reportedly locked them out of their offices for resuming late for work on Thursday.

The apology was sequel to an impromptu protest by the workers who equally locked the former Ebonyi State Governor inside the premises of the ministry and refused to allow him leave.

Umahi had decided on the extreme measure after he arrived the ministry’s complex ahead of some directors and staff in the morning and angered by their late arrival at work, ordered that they should be denied access to their respective offices whenever they resumed.

The action led to a protest by the workers who felt the Minister had displayed a high handed policy which did not augur well with them.

But in a bid to save the situation, Umahi decided to tender an apology to the angry staff when he addressed them.

“I would come to work and see workers coming to work by 12 O’clock, by 1 O’clock. I have had to send some of them to the permanent secretary to talk to them,” Umahi said while addressing protesters.

“Just a week ago, I called all the directors and said to them: ‘Without discipline, it is difficult’. I come to work and ask for files, some of the staff are not yet in the office to provide the files.

“By 3 O’clock I ask for files, some of the workers would have left. I cannot do without you, and you cannot do without me.

“Today I came to work by 9:30 am. I had a number of files to transmit and not up to 5 percent of the workers were in.

“I told the head of human resources that I need to get the attention of the workers; I needed to come and address you at the gate then I saw you started doing friendly game like a fight.

“When you treat people under you well, it is not a favour to them, it is a favour to yourself. Because whatever you sow is what you reap.

“If you were offended this morning, I offer apologies to you.

“You have to support me; I am not fighting for myself. You have to support me to demand that when we pay contractors, they should respect us.

“We are together and I want to assure you that I love you. I want you to be on my side. Let us fight this battle together and it is a battle that we must win.

“We must reset this country. This is the agenda of the renewed hope of Mr. President.”

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