It has been tales of sorrows, tears and blood from Kaduna State especially as occasioned by increasing waves of kidnapping, banditry, general insecurity, mass sack of workers and killing of students peacefully protesting the hike in school fees at Gidan Waya, Kaduna State. This situation is being encouraged by the neo-liberal policies of the Kaduna State Government.
The Nigeria Labour Congress will not fold its arms and watch a situation where thousands of workers are sacked with impunity and in clear violation of the clear provisions of our labour laws. Furthermore, it is sickening that not being satisfied with destroying the livelihoods of workers, the state government has graduated to killing students. The actions of the Kaduna State Government demonstrate complete contempt to the present and future labour force in Kaduna State.
Workers are not slaves. They have families. They have dependents to take care of. They have rights! Protecting the rights and dignity of workers using all lawful means including strike actions falls under the mandate of the Nigeria Labour Congress. This mandate to protest and protect the interest of Nigerian workers as enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution and Labour Laws will be robustly deployed again by Congress in Kaduna State. This time it will be to total and in defense and protection of the rights of Nigerian workers and pensioners whom Mr. Nasir El-Rufai relentlessly seeks to convert to his foot carpet. The Nigeria Labour Congress will not allow such to thrive in spite of El-Rufai’s threats some of which border on outright criminality and brigandage.
The threat by a supposed civilian government to use a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to address a pure industrial dispute is totally unprecedented in our history as a country. This latest threat is puerile, outrageous, as well as provocative. There is no place in our laws for the intervention of a Judicial Panel of Inquiry into a strictly industrial relations matter. This novel descent into the lower crevices of authoritarianism, despotism and tyranny exposes the true colours of the Governor of Kaduna State – Mr. Nasir El-Rufai as an anti-democrat.
It is curious how Mr. Nasir El-Rufai forgets that in trying to fulfil his well nursed fantasy of nailing labour leaders at all cost, he has accepted the burden of being both an accuser and Judge in his own matter. Nigerians are yet to get over the shock of Mr. El-Rufai’s monumental goof of declaring the President of Congress and other labour leaders wanted. How insufferable is the fate of justice in the hands of El-Rufai! So many legal accidents for an accidental public servant!
It is important to remind Mr. Nasir El-Rufai that a Judicial Panel of Inquiry has no jurisdiction in Nigeria’s labour jurisprudence neither does it have any space of operation under Nigeria’s democracy.
Instead of threatening, hounding and harming peacefully protesting workers, students and citizens, we advise Governor Nasir El-Rufai to deploy his Judicial Panel of Inquiry to address the mounting insecurity crisis in Kaduna State which is a clear fallout of his neo liberal policies and other acts of cruelty against the people he governs.
There is need to put a stop to the megalomaniac pretensions of a man who claims he was elected to serve the public including workers. El-Rufai’s crude attack on human and trade union rights is totally unacceptable. The crude abuse of power by Mr. Nasir El-Rufai must be stopped now or we risk endangering this democracy. Once again, we restate that Mr. Nasir El-Rufai is power drunk. He needs help and fast!
The statutory notice by Congress effective from June 22, 2021 for a nationwide withdrawal of services and which has been communicated to all employers of labour and the ongoing mobilization of all our structures are all geared towards putting up a firm resistance against the anti-workers policies of the Kaduna State Governor and his ilk.
While we continue to request the understanding and maximum cooperation of the Nigerian public in this struggle to rid our democracy of tyrants, we wish to posit that the global focus on development is on human centered approach to recovery and building resilience from the socio-economic devastations occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19.
There is nowhere in the world where governments are hiding under the cover of “right-sizing” to sack workers in huge numbers. Instead, governments are creating jobs and providing material support for citizens to go through this very rough patch in global history.
We insist that the rights of Kaduna State workers to earn legitimate livelihood must be protected. Kaduna Workers are not Slaves!
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni
29th June 2021