Labour unions and activist groups yesterday called for the sack of Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi over his call for the reduction of government workers by half to save costs. Sanusi said on Tuesday in Warri, Delta State, that the economy cannot grow if government continues to spend as much as it does on workers' salaries.
In a reaction, the Nigeria Labour Congress said Sanusi is "an agent of death" who must be fired.
"We see in Sanusi an agent of death that must be defeated and crushed before he further destroys the Nigerian economy. The burden of wealth creation in Nigeria, like any other country, has been on workers, while some politicians and economic parasites like Sanusi over consume what the workers sweat to create," NLC president Abdulwahed Omar said in a statement in Abuja.
"Since assumption of office as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, all Sanusi's major pronouncements have been either directly anti people or ruinous to the Nigerian economy."
He said the major problems of the Nigerian economy are corruption and lack of good governance.
"Even if you sack all the workers in Nigeria, any amount saved from that will be stolen and the culprits will walk in freedom," he said.
Omar said it was ironic that while President Jonathan is promising to create more jobs, Sanusi is calling for mass sack of civil servants "in a country with one of the highest number of unemployed".
"The burden that will come with mass sack as high as 50% of civil servants in addition to the already saturated unemployment market can better be imagined. Governance is about improving the quality of lives of the people and not destruction of productive lives," he said.
"It is obvious Sanusi was never qualified for the office of CBN governor in the first instance, and he must be asked to leave the office as he has shown more than enough incompetence and contempt for the Nigerian people," Omar added.
In its reaction, the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria advised Sanusi to tender his resignation letter to buttress his call for the sack of 50 per cent federal of the country's work force.
President of the association, Mr Olakunle Olaitan, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Sanusi's position was outrageous, adding: "He can talk like that because he has everything at his disposal. Okonjo-Iweala did more than this, has the economy changed? So, whose interest are they serving?"
For its part, the Radio, Television, Theatre and Art Workers Union (RATTAWU), through its president Oluyemisi Bamgbose, said, "For him to show that he is serious, let him start from his office by sacking 50 per cent of his staff, then tender his own resignation letter."
"Let him come publicly to tell us how he spend his budget, nobody knows how he runs the place yet he makes ridiculous statements. The last time he was busy donating money here and there as if that is what the office is all about," he added.
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) described Sanusi's retrenchment call as insensitive.
Addressing a news conference in Lagos, Mr Ehi Omokhuale, Lagos State Chairman of the CLO, described the call as "a backward statement."
On Tuesday, Sanusi argued that the country spends 70 per cent of her earnings on salaries and entitlements of civil servants. Speaking at the capital market retreat, the CBN governor said having the Federal Government's staff strength reduced by half would free up capital for infrastructure development in the country and buoy the economy.