Public sector workers in Ebonyi resumed for duties on Tuesday after the Christmas and New Year celebration.
A News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondent who went round some government offices at the New Ochoudo State Secretariat reports that workers reported at their various ministries as early as 7.30 a.m.
Some of the workers, who were seen cleaning their offices, told NAN that they were thankful to God for allowing them to see the New Year.
According to them, the long public holiday, which began on Saturday, Dec. 24, afforded them the opportunity to travel to their respective villages for the Christmas and New Year celebration.
Mr. Cosmos Elom, a worker in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said that he travelled home with his family for the celebration in spite of the economic downturn.
He said that the public holiday provided him the opportunity to ease off the stress emanating from his work and was resuming duty with renewed strength, vigour and commitment.
Elom appealed to the state government to look into the welfare of the workers, especially the remuneration of civil servants.
“I am very happy to resume at my duty post after the long public holiday to mark the Christmas and New Year festivities.
“The period afforded me the opportunity not only to travel home to celebrate with my people, but it also gave the chance to relieve stress.
“I am appealing to the Ebonyi State Government to look into upward review of salaries of the workers in view of the prevailing economic hardship in Nigeria,” he said.
Mrs. Emelia Opara of the Ministry of Education commended the Federal Government for declaring the public holiday which, she said, afforded public and private workers the opportunity to celebrate the festivities with family and friends.
Opara expressed joy for her life and the good health, adding that she was resuming duties with renewed zeal.
“I am happy that I’m alive to witness the year 2017. I am also happy that I came back from the long public holiday to meet my colleagues in the office all alive, strong and healthy.
“I am promising to give my very best in the discharge of my assigned official responsibilities with due diligence and commitment,” she said.
At the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, workers in the ministry were seen cleaning their offices in readiness for work.
Messrs Kelechi Oko, Gilbert Agom and Philip Ngele told NAN that they were pleased to resume after the Christmas and New Year break.
They said that the break gave them enough time to rest and pledged more commitment and zeal in the discharge of their duties.
“We will ensure that the mission and vision of the ministry will be kept alive this fiscal year by ensuring that we discharge our assigned roles to the best of our abilities, ” they said.
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi Head of Service (HoS), Dr. Chamberlain Nwele, has assured that the welfare and training of civil servants would receive a major boost in 2017.
He urged workers on the state payroll to shun truancy, laxity and “eye-service” in the performance of their duties, assuring that government would henceforth reward excellence, while truancy would be sanctioned.
According to him, the government will train and re-train workers with a view to upgrading their capacities to boost productivity.
“We are going to place the welfare and capacity building of the workforce on the top priority list.
“No one gives out what he or she doesn’t have.
Therefore, we are going to ensure that the civil servants who are the engine room of the administration are given the necessary training for the efficient discharge of their duties.
“Again, the government will ensure that benefits and welfare of the workers are given the pride of place in 2017,” Nwele said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that economic and other commercial activities were yet to pick up fully after the public holiday.
Banks and other financial institutions in Abakaliki have also re-opened their offices.