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Govs Appeal for Calm as NLC Grounds Economic Activities in Kaduna

•el-Rufai: We won’t be intimidated

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna

As the warning strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) grounded economic activities in Kaduna yesterday, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has appealed to the union to exercise restraint in its engagement with the Kaduna State Government.

The Chairman of the NGF, who is also the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in a statement, called for a cautious introspection on the part of labour.
The statement said no meaningful progress has ever been achieved in an atmosphere of conflict and chaos.

He warned that the NLC’s actions could become counter-productive, especially as the pandemic of 2020 has adversely affected workers socially and economically.

“Therefore, the NGF advises the NLC to explore the already open avenue of rapprochement that the Kaduna State Government has provided to resolve the matter and join the state to evolve a convivial working environment that is befitting for all,” he said.

The NGF also called on the NLC to be open-minded towards the intention of the staff audit that the Kaduna State Government was embarking upon to sanitise its workforce and make it more productive.

The NGF said this should not be seen as a witch-hunt or an attempt to unnecessarily downsize the civil service.

Fayemi said: “As we all know, all states are at present going through difficult times and the most feasible option will be for each state to device its own response to its unique challenges without undermining the rights of individuals to seek redress.”

The NLC began the warning strike to protest the sacking of civil servants without allegedly following due process.

As early as 7 am yesterday, the state secretariat and other government offices were shut, while the workers converged on the state secretariat of the NLC in Kaduna.

Although the gates were said to have been opened by the Kaduna State Vigilante Service, the workers refused to go to their offices.

Filling stations, commercial banks as well as the branch of the Kaduna Central Bank in Bank (CBN) were all closed.

Many private businesses and shops were closed for fear of possible outbreak of violence.
However, by 10 am many businesses and markets were opened when it was clear that the protest was peaceful.

The state government had in a circular, directed all workers to ignore notice for the warning strike and report to work and sign attendance register.

However, the workers shunned the directives and complied with the directives by the NLC.
Hundreds of workers, alongside labour leaders led by the NLC President, Dr. Ayuba Wabba, embarked on a peaceful procession.

The workers, who were accompanied by security personnel during the peaceful procession marched on the state secretariat and the House of Assembly before dispersing.

The state assembly was on recess and there was no official to receive them.

Earlier, in his address before leading the procession by workers, pensioners, and students, the Wabba had accused the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, of intimidation, falsehood, and violating labour laws with impunity.

He said: “Labour laws are very explicit, but in Kaduna, workers were being sacked without regard to the law.

“Political leaders are elected to respect the laws of the land, but in Kaduna, the governor is not only disrespecting the laws but violating the laws with impunity.

“First sacked 5,000 local government workers. The second sacking was 2,000.

“We are aware that in the Primary Healthcare Development Agency, 1,700 workers were sacked. We are aware in SUBEB, 4,000 workers were sacked. We are also aware that the list of 11,000 workers is ready.

“He (the governor) claimed he had not reverted the salaries of workers to N18,000. We are aware that out of the 31, 000 workers in the state, he did not pay 20,000 of them.
In fact, those he paid three days ago in the local government were given N18,000. These are the facts and those workers are here to confirm.”

Wabba also condemned the governor for increasing school fees by 1,000 per cent after sacking workers.

Reacting to the strike, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to the governor, Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, said in a statement the conditions that compelled the government to “right-size its workforce has not been altered by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)’s campaign of economic and social sabotage”.

Adekeye said the government’s resolve “is only reinforced by the desperate actions undertaken by the NLC to unlawful trespass on government facilities, and prevent officers from signing attendance registers. ‘’

He added that despite the action of the NLC, “the state government has guaranteed access to the state secretariat and other government offices.’’

The statement accused the NLC of shutting down hospitals and chasing away patients and stopping electricity supply.


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Posted by on May 17 2021. Filed under Economy, Governors, Headlines, Kaduna, State News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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