The forgotten backbone of Nigeria: The pitiful plight of public servants

By Dr. Maxwell Menkiti Ngene

Nigeria’s public servants, the backbone of the nation’s development efforts, are facing unprecedented hardships. Despite their dedication to duty, they struggle to make ends meet. They are victims of astronomical inflation, insecurity, and neglect. The once-cherished profession has become a symbol of frustration, demotivation, and despair.

Civil servants, including teachers, local government employees, journalists and broadcast workers, are the worst hit. They face:

  • Insecurity: Kidnapping, armed robbery, and banditry have made commuting to work a risky affair.
  • Poverty: Meagre salaries, unable to cover basic needs, forcing many to rely on loans and subsistence living.
  • Poor motivation: Neglect of training and retraining programmes, leaving them ill-equipped for modern challenges.
  • Transportation woes: Unable to afford transportation to and fro work, leading to absenteeism and reduced productivity.

Pix: Nigerian workers protesting poor condition of service

In desperation, many civil servants have resorted to self-help, diverting their attention from their primary duties to seek alternative sources of income, including:

  • Side businesses
  • Freelance work
  • Part-time jobs

This distraction from their core responsibilities further compromises the quality of public services, creating a vicious cycle of inefficiency and underdevelopment.

The consequences are dire:

  • Underperformance: Demotivated workers struggle to deliver quality services.
  • Brain drain: Talented public servants seek better opportunities abroad.
  • Societal impact: Inefficient public services hinder national progress and development.

It”s time to acknowledge the value of public servants and provide a Living Wage for Workers, enabling them to:

. Meet basic needs

.Access training and development opportunities

.Perform duties with dignity and motivation

Pix: Nigerian workers

We urge the government to:

  • Review salaries and benefits to reflect the current economic reality
  • Prioritize training and capacity building programme
  • Address security concerns and provide safe working environments

Furthermore, we call on the government to recognise the importance of public servants and public service in nation-building and take concrete steps to:

  • Improve working conditions
  • Enhance job security
  • Provide opportunities for career advancement

By doing so, we can motivate our public servants to deliver quality services, drive national progress, and build a better future for all Nigerians.

Let us join forces to empower our public servants and build a stronger, more prosperous Nigeria. The time to act is now!

Anchored by Maureen Ikpeama

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