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Friday 17th September 2021,
Hope for Nigeria

FG wades into NLC, Kaduna govt face-off

FG wades into NLC, Kaduna govt face-off

The federal government says it is concerned with the crisis in Kaduna State between workers and the state government. The labour minister, Chris Ngige, in a statement Tuesday called on both parties to observe a ‘ceasefire.’

Hopefornigeriaonline reported how the two major labour coalitions, NLC and TUC, commenced a one-week total strike in Kaduna on Monday leading to the shutdown of electricity, airports, schools and so on in the state. The workers are opposed to the plan of the state government to sack thousands of workers.

The Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai, however, says there is no going back on the ‘rightsizing,’ saying over 90 per cent of the state’s federal allocation is currently being spent on civil servants.

The governor also declared the leaders of the NLC, led by Ayuba Wabba, as fugitives who should be arrested.

“We hope and also pray the Kaduna state Governor not to escalate matters to such a level where it becomes uncontrollable. We also appeal the to the leaders of the labour centres to step down action to make way for discussion,” Mr Ngige said in the Tuesday statement by his office.

The federal government has waded into the national strike and picketing in Kaduna State by the two labour centres, appealing to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, as well as President of the Trade Union Congress, Qadiri Olaleye, to immediately cease fire.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, made the appeal Tuesday in a statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry, Charles Akpan .

“We are not unaware of what is going on in Kaduna State. It is a labour issue which has snowballed into a national strike and picketing by the two labour centres and affiliate unions.

“We hope and also pray the Kaduna state Governor not to escalate matters to such a level where it becomes uncontrollable. We also appeal the to the leaders of the labour centres to step down action to make way for discussion.

“My Ministry is wading into the matter and therefore calls on the two warring parties to give peace a chance.

The minister also appealed to all workers on essential duties including doctors and nurses not to join the strike.

“Importantly, I appeal to workers in critical sectors not to tamper with electrical or water installations so as not to bring more sufferings to the people of Kaduna and the nation at large.

“This is because we have it on good authority, following a complaints by the Minister of Power that workers have threatened to trigger a nation-wide blackout by interfering or switching off the national grid.”

Similarly, the federal government says it is confident that a week-long fruitful consultations with all the critical stakeholders will end the debilitating strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria when conciliation resumes Thursday.

Addressing the press on the issue today, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said he has together with the Secretary of the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of the Judiciary and State legislature, Eta Enang, held consummate consultations with all stakeholders, including the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi, Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, His Excellency, Simon Lalong, officials from the Governors Forum Secretariat, Chairman of Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly as well as the Administrative Secretary of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly.

“ Today, we have deepened the discussion with a meeting with the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President of the Court of Appeal and other judges who are heads of courts – President of the Federal High Court , President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria and we looked at the positions canvassed by each of the components – judiciary, legislature and the Governors Forum.

“ At the moment, we have distilled on a holistic basis, what this Ministry regards as a conciliatory cocktail position – a mix of ideas from all sides, of constitutional positions, and even part of Presidential Executive Order No.10.

“We have come out with a position and given same to all sides, including the body of Chief Judges of States through their representatives, the Chief Judge of Bayelsa as proposals to study and come back. It contains the positions which each group proposed and which in our joint committee, in our wisdom, we felt was necessary to make for the independence- fund wise of the state judiciary and legislature without breaching the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We have done something that will make the state legislature, judiciary and even the NJC operate optimally.

“We have agreed to reconvene for all sides to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on this MOU we have drawn up. We are very hopeful the two unions will call off their strike so we can have industrial peace in the states, open our courts and the state assemblies so that even the state laws contained in the MOU will be enacted as soon as possible, within the 48 days execution period allowed the states to formalise it.”

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