Kaduna Strike: El-Rufai Blows Hot, Labels NLC As Bandits

 

 

 

By Ayo Kehinde

 

 

The Kaduna State Government has described as criminal actions and campaign of economic and social sabotage and lawlessness the ongoing strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.

The strike which has paralysed essential services for the past two days heightened yesterday when hoodlums attacked the protesting workers while the police watched.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, whom Governor NasrI el-Rufai had declared wanted for ”economic sabotage under Miscellaneous Offenses Act”, participated in Tuesday protest after the government went compound problems by sacking nurses under Level 14 and lecturers in the state university.

Fearing that the strike could escalate through the country, particularly in the north which is bleeding from banditry, as Labour threatened to ground the country with a nationwide strike if the governor went ahead with his threat to arrest its leaders, the Progressives Governor Forum of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, appealed to the governor to go to the negotiation table. He refused. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has also begged el-Rufai, but he refused to back down.

“KDSG considers as unacceptable the serial violations of the Miscellaneous Offences Act and the Trade Union Act that have occurred over the last two days.” said Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, in  statement on Tuesday. adding,

“However, KDSG cannot be expected to tolerate the brazen shutdown of electricity, attack on public infrastructure and buildings, locking up hospitals and forcefully discharging patients, unlawful trespass into public facilities and the wanton use of coercion and restraints of personal freedom by the NLC.

“Efforts to dress up criminal activity as industrial action do not change the reality of the lawbreaking that has unfolded, including their persistently ignoring the prohibition against impeding essential services. Also, KDSG cannot ignore the illegal pressures brought to disrupt the operations of banks and other private business whose staff and customers do not have any industrial dispute with the state or any other government.

“KDSG acknowledges doctors and some other categories of health workers that are trying to run public health facilities, but regrets that some nurses have joined the unlawful strike and engaged in sabotage of some of our health facilities. Nurses were implicated in the forceful discharge of patients in many health facilities.

“Reports from Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital disclosed that some identified nurses disconnected the oxygen supply of a two-month old baby in an incubator on Monday, 17th May 2021. The names of the three nurses from the Special Baby Care Unit (SBCU) who were involved in this despicable act have been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice to initiate prosecution for attempted murder or murder in the event we lose the baby.

In addition, KDSG has decided the following:
1. Ayuba Wabba and his senior confederates in the NLC are declared wanted, and will be vigorously prosecuted for violations of the Penal Code of Kaduna State, the Miscellaneous Offences and the Trade Dispute (Essential Services) Acts. They are advised to report to the Ministry of Justice and the Police Headquarters to take their statements;

2. The Ministry of Health will dismiss all nurses below GL 14 for going on an unlawful strike. Salaries that could have gone to them are to be given as extraordinary occupational allowances to the health workers who are at their duty posts to fill the gap of those absconding from duty. The Ministry of Health has been directed to advertise vacancies for the immediate recruitment of new nurses to replace those dismissed;

3. Any academic staff of KASU that does not report for work will be dismissed. The authorities of KASU are to submit a copy of the attendance register for all categories of staff daily to the Secretary to the State Governemnt and the Commissioner of Education;

4. All MDAs are also to submit daily copies of attendance register to the Head of Service;

“KDSG views the actions of the NLC as equivalent to the actions of the bandits kidnapping and menacing our citizens. Bandits illegally use arms, but the NLC is deploying mob action for exactly the same ends: trying to hold hostage the freedoms, economic interests, livelihoods and resources of the people of Kaduna State. It is a vain expectation that this government will respond differently to sets of unlawful actions that have the same ends.

“KDSG will not submit its treasury to the entitled minority. We will reform and rightsize our public service to meet the needs and resources of the Kaduna State even if the NLC strikes ad infinitum. The government remains committed to using all the resources it can generate to serve the interests of the majority of its citizens, providing social services beyond paying salaries, always putting the interests of the many ahead of the few.