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Kaduna likens NLC to bandits, threatens to dismiss workers on ‘illegal’ strike

Author:
Femi Owolabi

The Kaduna government has likened the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to bandits terrorising the north-west region.

Schools and hospitals have been shut since Monday when the union commenced a five-day warning strike in the state.

The strike followed the disengagement of 4,000 workers across the 23 LGAs by Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, who cited the state’s high wage bill as the reason.

Muyiwa Adekeye, the governor’s spokesperson, in a statement on Tuesday, accused the union of sabotage and lawlessness.

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He said the government will dismiss nurses below grade level 14, and academic staff members of the Kaduna State University (KASU) who are participating in the strike action.

“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 businesses whose staff and customers do not have any industrial dispute with the state or any other government,” the statement reads.

“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.

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“The Ministry of Health will dismiss all nurses below GL14 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.

“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 Government and the Commissioner of Education.

“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.”

He added that it is a vain expectation that the Kaduna government will respond differently to sets of “unlawful actions” that have the same ends.

Earlier, the governor had declared Ayuba Wabba, president of the NLC, and other members of the union wanted for economic sabotage.

The union leaders have also been advised to report at the state’s ministry of justice to make their statements.

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