The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has described Kaduna State government under Governor Nasir El-Rufai as lawless.
The Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai in a broadcast recently accused NLC of assault on the rights, freedoms, and livelihoods of the citizens of Kaduna State.
But the NLC, in its reaction, said the state government mobilised and deployed thugs, who assaulted and violated their members.
According to the NLC, some of the victims of the attack are still in hospital receiving treatment.
This is despite the intervention of the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, in the industrial dispute between Kaduna State Government and Organised Labour over the mass sacking of workers by the El-Rufai-led government.
El-Rufai, while addressing the people of the state on May 21, 2021, accused the NLC of assaulting the rights, freedoms, and livelihoods of the citizens of Kaduna State.
But the NLC’s Head of Information and Public Affairs, Benson Upah, denied the allegations.
He said, “We did not assault the rights, freedoms, and livelihoods of the citizens of Kaduna State even though we were in Kaduna State for four days in the exercise of the rights conferred on us by the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and ILO Conventions 87 and 98 (freedom of association/expression/right to unionisation), and the corpus of our Labour Law (right to protest and strike).
“Indeed, our presence in Kaduna was made inevitable by the refusal of Kaduna State Government to dialogue after our letter of April 9, 2021. Our letter was a response to the letters of sack issued to workers from March 31 to April 1 in utter violation and contempt of their fundamental terms of a contract of employment and redundancy law as per Labour Act S. 20.
“Further to this, we met at the level of NEC where the decision was taken to embark on a five-day warning strike/protest as a last resort if the Kaduna State Government was still not inclined to dialogue by a certain date. The NEC further resolved to escalate the action to a national action if the five-day protest/strike failed to yield the desired result. Thus, our coming to Kaduna followed all due process permitted by the body of our Labour Law.
“When we did come into Kaduna State on the appointed date, we came publicly and not stealthily. We withdrew our services and marched peacefully along Independence Way/Muhammadu Buhari Way to NEPA Roundabout in line with the provisions of the law but we were assaulted and violated by a mob recruited, mobilised, and deployed by the State Government.
“Some of the victims of the attack are still in hospital receiving treatment. It is equally important to point out that in the course of our protest march, we neither visited any office let alone harass anyone out of any. We strictly kept to these two streets without breaking a twig or plucking a flower.
“We were orderly and peaceful and not lawless as alluded to by Mr Governor. Indeed, if anyone was lawless, it was the State Government that took pride in engaging thugs and vitriol to the point of boasting that by the time they were done with us, we would never again come to Kaduna.
“The threat would have been carried out but for the thoughtful presence of our security agencies. Not satisfied, even after we had suspended the action on Wednesday following the intervention of the Federal Government, the State Government deployed an amarda of thugs to our state secretariat on Thursday morning to seize the place.”
Labour had last week embarked on a five-day warning strike in Kaduna but it was cut short after the intervention of the Federal government.