The Abia state government has recalled hundreds of its civil service workforce two years after it sacked them for not having ancestral roots in the state, in an angry reaction to similar policy around the southeast region at the time.
The workers were sacked and asked to go back to their home states. But the state government issued a memo recalling them on Wednesday, through its head of service, G.C Adiele, after the state’s executive council meeting presided by the governor, Theodore Orji.
The state’s commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo, said the victims of that mass sack who are willing to return would be reabsorbed into their former positions.
You are not Abians
The 2,604 victims of the mass sack, mostly from neighbouring states, were asked to go back to their states and seek employment in August 2011 in a move that pitched the Abia governor against its neighbours.
Mr. Orji, at the time defended the move as retaliatory and a service to citizens of the state.
“If Abia is chasing other people away, we are only copying what others have done to us. It was a question of observing fairness and equity,” he said at an event where he was crowned “Man of the Year Award” by Daily Independent Newspaper in Lagos, May this year.
“When I have the opportunity to serve the Abia State people, I have no apologies to make to anybody,” the governor added. “What I want to place on record is this, I wonder where people were when Abia born people were being chased away from other civil services.”
Although the state is yet to give reasons for the recall, it is apparently running low on workforce as it has announced plans to employ more people, with special focus on citizens displaced from northern Nigeria in the ongoing Boko Haram crisis.