Why We Oppose Kaduna Govt —NLC Chairman

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Kaduna State branch has given further details on the many sins of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, that forced the national leadership of the congress to lock down the state, beginning from Monday.

Led by the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the workers shut down all government activities in the state on Monday as they began a five-day warning strike over what they termed, “many sins of Gov. El-Rufai.”

Electricity supply, government schools and offices, banks, airport, train station were totally shut in Kaduna as the NLC-led workers staged a protest march on Monday.

The Kaduna State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Magaji Suleiman, said they noted with dismay that the government reverted to the old minimum wage of N18, 000 in the month of April 2021 salary in the local government council.

Besides, he stated that about 20,000 state civil servants received half salary which is even less than the former N18, 000 minimum wage; while health workers were denied almost all their allowances such as hazard, call duty, shifting, rural posting etc.

Comrade Suleiman said: “It’s disheartening to say that Kaduna State Government claims that it had paid up to N14 billion as arrears of death benefit and gratuity from 2017 but the fact is that the same government disengaged over 35,000 civil servants in 2017 and up to date over 80 per cent have not received their retirement benefits.

“It’s sad for Kaduna State Government to claim its commitment to training of workers while those that are qualified for promotion remain stagnant for years.”

The NLC chairman said: “On claims by the government supporting civil servants to pay for houses through mortgages on a single digits interest, this claim is false. The reality of this is that this mortgages was gotten by the joint effort of NLC and TUC.

“The State Government in its ignorance failed to realize the obvious fact that payments of salaries have multiplying effects on the social welfare and economy. In other words, when salaries are paid, it reflects down the line.”

On the sack of the workers, he said, “the unfortunate downsizing of workforce in Kaduna State was not done in accordance with the statutory labour law, with a keen examination of its activities from 2017 till date, over 50,000 workers have been affected.

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“It’s in the public domain that over 20,000 teachers were sacked, 5,000 local government workers were equally disengaged in 2017, while another 12,000 state civil servants were also unfairly disengaged and the recent sacking of over 7,000 workers of local government in the month of April 2021. These lay credence to the figures given by the NLC.

“The claim by the State Government to promote the right of the children of the poor to decent education,  is contradictory to the recent increase in tuition fees in the state-owned institutions by more than 300 per cent.”

Comrade Suleiman described the plan to arrest the NLC President, Comrade Wabba, as laughable, adding that the threat to intimidate labour cannot work.

According to him: “The warrant of arrest on the national president of NLC Comrade Ayuba Waba as claimed by Kaduna State Government is unwarranted intimidation on the labour movement. This is considered a violation of the Human Rights Act. The national president’s involvement in this action is intended to protect the interest of Kaduna State workers.

“The claim by Kaduna State Government that NLC recruited hoodlums to cause mayhem during the strike is untrue because it is not in the character of labour to indulge in such uncivilized manner as against the nature of politicians.

“All the affiliates of the Nigeria Labour Congress are fully committed to participating in the strike action without compulsion.

“We are calling the attention of the general public to the planned mobilization of thugs by the State Government to discredit our peaceful protest of tomorrow. Hence, we advocate that the people of Kaduna State should be vigilant and stand against this plan.

“On this note, we implore the general public to remain calm and peaceful throughout the five-day warning strike period which we are assuring the Kaduna State workers and the general public of our commitment to maintaining peaceful strike action for the interest of workers in the state and the general public.”

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