The staff of Nigeria’s National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has started a nationwide indefinite strike in protest against poor allowance and working conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local media reported on Thursday.

The staff complained they have not been given protection equipment, although they have been listed as essential workers amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Nigerian Tribune reported.

“As you know workers on level 12 downwards are not supposed to be at work, but we came out to do this work voluntarily. Because of the government’s attitude, we are withdrawing our voluntary services until something is done about it,” Nigerian Tribune quoted Paul Soros, who leads the protest in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, as saying.

He said while they work under pressure to enable people to get their national identification numbers, the government has failed to provide the essential tools to function effectively, according to the report.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has been grappling with the second wave of COVID-19. So far, 92,705 COVID-19 infections have been confirmed, 76,396 cases discharged and 1,319 people have died in Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, according to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

On Thursday, the NCDC confirmed one new COVID-19-related death and 1,354 infections.

The virus has claimed more than 1.88 million lives in 191 countries and regions since first being detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University. More than 87.3 million people have been infected worldwide so far.

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