Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai has stated that the federal government allowed the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to cause hardship for residents through their industrial action.
Recall that El-Rufai in April disengaged 4,000 workers across the 23 LGAs, citing the state’s high wage bill as the reason for the decision.
Displeased with the move, the NLC embarked on a five-day warning strike and grounded activities in the state.
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The strike was later called off by the union after the federal government intervened and called for a dialogue. Speaking during a media chat which was aired on local radio stations on Thursday, el-Rufai said the action of the workers caused residents of the state discomfort and loss.
El-Rufai insisted that the reasons cited by the NLC were false, adding that the federal government allowed the workers to break the law and “kept silent”. He further accused the police of providing a cover for the NLC to break the law.
“The federal government allowed some irresponsible people to cause hardship for our people,” he said.
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“The NLC said they were protesting against the sacking of workers, but we didn’t sack workers. All the reasons they gave for their strike were false. There is a law in Nigeria which prohibits switching off electricity or water which will cause hardship to people.”
The governor, who cited a reference to the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida, said people who switched off electricity supply during that administration were jailed for about 20 years.
“Since that time, nobody had switched off electricity in Nigeria until they came and did it in Kaduna,” he added.
He insisted that actions such as switching off electricity as witnessed during the strike, had a negative impact on Kaduna residents.
“This is a violation of the law. Those who did it were supposed to be arrested and prosecuted, but the federal government kept silent,” he said.
“After the NLC and federal government realised that Kaduna people will deal with the NLC, they now said we should come to Abuja for dialogue. The NLC came to Kaduna for politics. They paid them; they collected the money and spent it. They broke our laws; they broke the laws guiding protest.”
The governor further said he will set up a panel to probe the role played by those who participated in the protest, vowing that all those found guilty of going against the law would be prosecuted.
“They violated the laws of the land. If Abuja (federal government) will not prosecute them, the Kaduna state government will prosecute them,” he said.
“We have traders who suffered losses and we have asked them to enumerate their losses. We will go to court and ensure justice for all of them. Very soon, the Kaduna state government will set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the role played by everybody during the protest. There is no law that says you should stop somebody who wants to go to work. Let them come back and see, since it is the police that is providing cover for them to go and lock people’s places of work and break the law. Whether they are Kaduna state civil servants or federal civil servants, they will face the wrath of Kaduna state laws. We will prosecute them. Let NLC go and collect money again and come to Kaduna. I swear, we are waiting for them. We know those who paid them, and we are waiting for them.”
Photo Credit: Getty