Nigeria: El-Rufai to Set Up Committee to Investigate NLC Strike

20 June 2021

Kaduna — Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai has said that he will set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the recent warning strike by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the state.

He has also vowed to discipline all those found guilty by the commission and insisting that the strike was illegal and it subjected the people to hardship and losses.

He disclosed this plan while fielding questions simultaneously on nine Hausa radio stations on Thursday, accusing the police of providing cover for the NLC to break the law.

The NLC and its affiliate unions in Kaduna State had embarked on a five-day warning strike over the recent disengagement of civil servants by the state government.

But the congress suspended the warning strike on May 19, following the intervention of the federal government, which summoned the NLC, and the Kaduna State Government to Abuja for dialogue.

Speaking during the radio programme, el-Rufai lamented that the federal government also failed to prosecute who broke the law.

The governor said all the reasons given by the NLC for the strike were false, insisting that his administration did not sack workers.

"The NLC said the workers were protesting against the sacking of workers, but we didn't sack them. All the reasons they gave for their strike were false.

"Some of them said we sacked 4000 workers, some even said we sacked 70,000. Our total workforce is 32,000. There are 38,000 schoolteachers and they are not our staff, they are local government staff.

"The NLC came with lies. 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.

"If there is a problem between employees and employers, there are procedures prescribed by law to be followed before embarking on strike. Strike is the last resort after following laid down rules."

He said there was a law in Nigeria, which prohibited switching off electricity or water, which would cause hardship to people.

According to him, some people who switched off electricity supply during the military administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), were jailed for about 20 years.

Since that time, the governor claimed that nobody had switched off electricity in Nigeria until they came and did it in Kaduna.

He said: "This is a violation of the law. Those who did it were supposed to be arrested and prosecuted, but the federal government kept silent.

"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 governor claimed.

He explained the federal government allowed some irresponsible people "to cause hardship to our people. I swear we will pursue them because they violated the laws of the land, if Abuja will not prosecute them, Kaduna State will prosecute them.

"We have traders who suffered losses. We have asked them to enumerate their loss and bring them, we will go to court and ensure justice to 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.

"I swear, let them come back! 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.

"We will not allow the people of Kaduna to be subjected to that again, we can protect ourselves. If people that are being paid to protect the people of Kaduna failed, I swear the Kaduna state government will protect its citizens.

"Let them come back. We are prepared for them. We will investigate, those who helped them in carrying out the protest and subjected our people to hardship, they will be prosecuted.

"Whether they are Kaduna State civil servants or federal civil servants, they will face wrath of Kaduna state laws. We will prosecute them. When the commission of inquiry finishes its assignment and we get the names of all those involved and their roles, we will prosecute them.

"Let the 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," el-Rufai claimed.

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