The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Tuesday took a swipe at the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai for saying he would set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into the May 2021 strike and protests convened by organised labour.
It said the threat to use a commission of inquiry to address industrial dispute was “unprecedented, puerile, outrageous and provocative”.
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El-Rufai had on Monday, through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye stated that it would seek accountability for NLC’s actions in the state by setting up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look into labour’s action.
He had also described as non-legal document which is not binding, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both parties to resolve the impasse in the State.
“The content of the MoU shows that there is no congruence between the progressive aspirations of the Kaduna State Government and the misguided sense of entitlement of the NLC which does not even believe in equality amongst its own members,” he had stated.
But reacting, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, described the governor as a “power-drunk” leader endangering 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 a need to put a stop to the megalomaniacal 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 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!”, Wabba said in a statement.
The labour leader maintained that the NLC leadership won’t fold its arm while looking at El-Rufai violating laws of the land with impunity.
He added, “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.
The congress stressed its right to protest would be deployed in “total and in defence and protection of the rights of Nigerian workers and pensioners whom El-Rufai relentlessly seeks to convert to his foot carpet.”