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Controversy trails Lagos Govt. Stay-at-home directives in LIRS

By News Desk

Barely three days after Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, directed the workers between Grade Level 1 and 12 to stay away from office for 14 days to prevent spread of coronavirus, controversy has trailed the pronouncement in the Lagos Internal Revenue Service, (LIRS).

The controversy between the staff and management, the Guild gathered, was the sudden declaration of LIRS by the Chairman, Ayo Subair, as an essential service provider in the state.

Essential service providers in the state as mentioned by the governor were Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), fire service, medical staff, and Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA).

To the staff, who had been at the agency before Subair’s appointment, LIRS has never been among the agencies enlisted by the government as essential services provider in the state.

According to aggrieved staff, the declaration by the governor also includes LIRS since it was not an emergency provider and staff that fall within the cadre should be allowed to benefit from the gesture extended to them by the governor to curtail spread of coronavirus

The staff, within the cadre, were said to have shelved any plan of resuming to work on Monday but were surprised when the Administration Officer, acting on the instructions of the agency chairman, alerted staff that the agency was among essential service providers in Lagos.

In a memo obtained by the Guild and dated March 23rd, it was further stated that the agency has been allowed by the governor to decide measures to be taken.

“Further to the updated cases of coronavirus, a memo was issued by the HOS instructing that officers in G12 and below should work from home for the next two weeks effective 23rd march, 2020.

“Please be reminded that the agency is considered an essential service and management has been given the discretion to determine the pattern of staff attendance at this time.

“Details of this will be communicated shortly. in the interim, all staff are expected to report for duty as normal”, the memo added.

To ensure the staff consider change in LIRS status as important, Subair, also issued another memo to affirm the decision earlier announced by the administration officer.

In a memo titled: RE: COVID-19 flexi work-social distancing in the workplace, the LIRS chairman said the management has been given the discretion to determine the pattern of staff attendance at this time.

Subair said that while awaiting details of the new arrangement, all staff are directed to report for duty as normal.

“Please be informed that management is drawing up working schedules for essential duties in the agency and this shall be made available before the close of business today”.

Efforts to get Subair’s reaction proved abortive, he did not respond to Short Messages (SMS) sent to him.

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