Communique of NLC NEC Issued on 22nd April 2021

22nd April 2021

A Communique

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Nigeria Labour Congress held a virtual meeting on 22nd April 2021. The virtual meeting was anchored from the Labour House Auditorium, Abuja. The NEC comprises all the Presidents, General Secretaries and Treasurers of NLC’s affiliate unions; Chairpersons and Secretaries of State Councils and the FCT; and members of the National Administrative Council.

The NEC considered a number of labour and socio-economic issues during the meeting. The issues include fallout from the privatization of the power sector, the comatose state of Nigeria’s national refineries and current proposals by government for their rehabilitation, the recent mass sack and casualization of workers by Kaduna State Governor and the hijack of Labour Party by strange elements and phony characters.

Considerations of the NEC:

  1. Privatization of the Power Sector

The NEC considered a Report of the World Bank on the so-called subsidies by government on the privatized power sector as an acute aberration that is totally untoward, and completely unacceptable to Nigerians. The NEC also considered that the services from the new private owners of the power sector have recorded worse performance than when the power sector was publicly managed. The NEC noted that the quality of services and cost efficiency for electricity consumers in Nigeria have actually deteriorated since the privatization of the power sector. The NEC reasoned that the raison d’etre for the privatization of the power sector which is to improve electricity services to consumers, shed the burden of funding the power sector from government and increase revenue accruing to government have all been defeated.

  1. The Comatose State of Nigeria’s Refineries and Efforts by Government to Revamp the Refineries

The NEC also considered recent reports on efforts by the government to revamp Nigeria’s comatose refineries. The NEC observed that the sum budgeted for the revamping of the Port Harcourt refineries appears to be on the high side considering earlier proposals for an overhaul of Nigeria’s refineries estimated at about $450 million. The NEC reasoned that what is paramount to Nigerians is that the refineries are brought back to life in a manner that must demonstrate value for money.

  1. The Mass Sack and Casualization of Workers by the Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai

The NEC considered the recent mass sack and casualization of more than 60% of the workforce in Kaduna State as unarguably the most vitriolic attack on workers and trade union rights in our nation’s history. This is in addition to 21,770 primary school teachers, 7,310 local government employees, 3000 personnel in the State Civil Service and 1,240 workers at the Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board that that Mr. Nasir El-Rufai sacked between 2016 and 2021.

The NEC was also alarmed at the recent hike in school fees in Kaduna State University by almost 1000% shortly after Mr. El-Rufai sacked majority of the state workforce. This clearly suggests a well mapped plan to subject the children of the working class to a life of ignorance and destitution. Is this how Mr. El-Rufai understands development?

The NEC observed the serial pattern of anti-workers and anti-trade union war of attrition by the Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai. The NEC noted with regret that the current anti-workers disposition of the Kaduna State Governor is at the instance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other Bretton Woods Institutions as part of the conditionalities for accessing loans from the neoliberal agencies.

The NEC noted Mr. El-Rufai’s utter disdain for public service of which he is a beneficiary from free primary education to university. The NEC also observed breaches in the provisions of Section 20 Sub Sections 1(a-c), 2 and 3 of Nigeria’s Labour Act which demand consultation with workers representative organizations before redundancy actions are taken and also the requirement that redundancy benefits must be agreed upon with workers representative organizations before redundancy is effected.
The NEC also observed the violation of the terms of Employment Contract of the disengaged workers which provides for 60 years retirement age and or 35 years of active service. The NEC also observed that Governor El-Rufai has refused to pay workers that he had earlier made redundant from 2016 till 2020 their redundancy benefits. The NEC described the actions of Mr. Nasir El-Rufai as a dance of oddity in impunity. The NEC also underscored the actions of Mr. El-Rufai as a precursor for the deteriorating security situation in Kaduna State.

  1. National Development and General Governance

The NEC expressed concern on the rising cost of food items, inflationary trend currently standing at 22.5%, poverty, unemployment, and insecurity in Nigeria and warned that the situation would be worsened by the IMF and World Bank demand for increased taxation, subsidy removal and other anti-people reforms. The NEC berated government’s poor commitment to research and social welfare. The NEC also frowned at recent attempts to scrap the local government system and described such moves as anti-development, anti-people and retrogressive.

  1. Hijack and Impersonation of the Leadership of the Labour Party

The NEC noted with dismay the continued hijack and impersonation of the leadership structures of the Labour Party by strange elements. The NEC chronicled the founding role of the NLC on Labour Party, Congress statutory stake in the Party’s leadership through the two central labour organizations and the National Women Commission of the NLC and the fact that founding documents of Labour Party including the Certificate of Registration of the Labour Party are still in the custody of Congress.

The NEC also recalled the Consent Judgement delivered by Honourable Justice G.O. Kolawole (now JCA), on March 20, 2018, where he stated that the Labour Party (though not a trade union), is an institutional political party of the Nigerian workers, founded, funded and promoted by the Nigerian workers through the central labour organisation, the Nigeria Labour Congress in furtherance of the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in INEC vs Musa in which the Supreme Court held:
“The provisions of section 40 of 1999 Constitution are clear. Their import is to allow ‘every person,’ including public office holders and civil servants, the freedom to assemble freely and associate with other persons to form or belong to any political party, or trade union or any association for the protection of his interests. The section has made no exception and there is no proviso therein limiting its application to civil servants or public officers.”
The NEC further recalled that Justice Kolawole ordered the parties to the suit to conduct an expansive and inclusive national convention.

The NEC reasoned that all reasonable steps to persuade the hijackers of the Labour Party to hand over the party have failed to yield results.

Resolutions of the NEC

  1. Privatization of the Power Sector

The NEC resolved to demand that government in line with the agreement signed with Organized Labour on September 28, 2020 should invoke the clause in the power sector privatization that provides for a 5-year review of the power sector privatization programme to reverse the power sector privatization programme and return the sold assets to the Nigerian people. This demand is consequent on the incontrovertible evidence that the current power sector privatization has failed to achieve any of its set objectives which includes improving the quality and quantity of electricity supply to Nigerians, shedding of power sector funding from the government and increasing revenue from power sector investment to the coffers of government.

The NEC also called on government to be clear and straight on its engagement with Organized Labour on the management of electricity tariff. The NEC said that it would not allow government to hide under the guise of “sine die” engagement with Organized Labour to afflict Nigerians with further increases in electricity tariff.

Furthermore, the NEC-in-Session strongly objected to the World Bank’s claim that energy tariffs are subsidized by about 70%. The NEC recalled that the privatization programme for Nigeria’s power sector was at the bidding of the World Bank and other Bretton Woods Institutions. The NEC called on the World Bank to be courageous enough to admit that its “one size fits all” prescriptions have failed again.

  1. The Comatose State of Nigeria’s Refineries and Efforts by Government to Revamp the Refineries

The NEC called on government, in line with the Agreement reached with Labour on September 28, 2020 to take very reasonable measures to ensure that all the four public refineries are rehabilitated and brought back fully onstream in good time. The NEC demands that such efforts should be on the basis of value for money since the country has already lost huge sums of money to phony contractors and their middle-persons collaborators in government who had defaulted on their commitments for effective Turn Around Maintenance of our refineries.

The NEC called on government to be forthcoming and transparent on the implementation on the current efforts to revamp and reposition Nigeria’s refineries for optimal productivity. The NEC also reiterated its earlier calls for new refineries both regular and modular refineries.

  1. The Mass Sack and Casualization of Workers by the Kaduna State Governor, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai

The NEC resolved to take on headlong the recent sacking and casualization of more than 48,320 workers in Kaduna State. The NEC also resolved on the following measures to protest the illegal, anti-workers and anti-people actions of the Kaduna State Governor:

i. To mobilize all Nigerian workers to commence an indefinite industrial action and mass protests in Kaduna State; and

ii. To escalate the strike actions and protests in Kaduna State to a 5-days nationwide industrial action if the Kaduna State Governor refuses to reverse his attack on workers in Kaduna State.

  1. National Development and General Governance

i. The NEC demanded that all tiers of governments in Nigeria should be wary of accepting loans from Bretton Woods Institutions especially when such loans are laced with anti-people conditionalities that impose hardship and suffering on workers and the generality of the people of Nigeria;

ii. The NEC called on all tiers of government in Nigeria to take steps to improve on human welfare especially through adequate investment in the social sector, social protection and social services. The NEC also urged governments at all levels in Nigeria to create a balance in public expenditure between investments in physical infrastructure and improving people’s welfare;

iii. Instead of swallowing hook, line and sinker sinister loans from neoliberal organizations, the NEC urged the Nigerian government to accept the challenge of home-grown economic development anchored on investments in education, public health, research, public works, social welfare, and support for the real sectors of the economy including small and medium scale enterprises. The NEC particularly urged government to ensure proper synergy and coordination of research initiatives and efforts in Nigeria;

iv. The NEC also underscored the critical role of security and public order in national development especially with regards to attracting foreign investments. The NEC having identified security as a collective responsibility called for the removal of the veil on “security votes”. The NEC-in-Session called for the passage and implementation of security sector appropriations through the regular budgetary and legislative procedures to engender public confidence, performance and accountability by all state actors; and

v. On the moves to scrap the local government system, the NEC opposed any reform that seeks to scrap the local government system from the Nigerian Constitution. The NEC rather urged Nigeria’s political leaders to adopt new measures to strengthen the structures and operations of local governments in Nigeria and guarantee their full autonomy.

  1. Labour Party

i. Resolved to issue notice to all the impostors parading as Labour Party Leaders to hand over the property of the Labour Party to Organized Labour immediately;

ii. Resolved to march to the headquarters of INEC to register the displeasure of workers over the hijacking of the Labour Party, and

iii. In the event that the criminal impostors fail to listen to the voice of reason, Organized Labour in Nigeria would be left with no option than to forcibly recover all the assets and properties of the Labour Party throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria.


Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni


Comrade Ismail Bello
Ag. General Secretary

22nd April 2021