By Zayyad I. Muhammad
Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) 5-day warning strike in Kaduna commenced on Monday, May 17, 2021- it was a good outing for the labour and its supporters.
The Labour was able to rallied-round all its affiliates and also drew support from many residents of Kaduna. NLC’s action was meant to compel Governor Nasir El-Rufai to reverse the recent mass sack of civil servants.
NLC said Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai has retrenched 6000 workers. It also claimed that Mallam has not paid April salaries for some 20,000 workers- this convinced other labor unions to join the warning strike, at least 14 affiliated unions of the NLC joined procession of the strike, which started from the NLC secretariat in Kaduna at 7 am chanted solidarity songs, displaying placards with various inscriptions.
Many Kaduna residents supported NLC because they believe Mallam is killing small businesses and destroying markets and corner shops including houses without provided quick alternatives and listening ears.
The Kaduna state government said it is retrenching workers based on redundancy, sickness, disciplinary matters and those that have reached retirement age. And, 90% of Kaduna’s FACC allocation goes to the workers. And, its infrastructure development is an urban renewal project-This are valid points.
Day 1 of the NLC strike was a success- They shut down electricity, water, banks, motor parks, filling stations, government and private offices, all supermarkets and markets- but the common people have suffered. Kaduna’s 2 trillion naira economy was hit by the strike and billions of naira have been lost to the grounding of businesses in the state.
Subsequent days may be hard for the Kaduna people- especially city dwellers if a truce is not reached. Though, Governor El-Rufa’I has remained defiant- he said: “The Kaduna state government affirms that the conditions that compel it to rightsize are not altered by the NLC’s campaign of economic and social sabotage. The NLC showed in 2017 that it has no interest in public welfare, going violent over 21,780 failed teachers who Kaduna state government replaced with 25,000.”
On the other hand, Kaduna state has never witnessed massive infrastructure development like is being done now under Governor Nasir El-Rufai. However, The irony is, comes 2023, despite the massive development witnessed during Governor El-Rufai, many residents of Kaduna would be wary of whoever is presented by Gov. El-Rufa’i as a governorship candidate- The candidate will simply be on the defensive, while the opposition would be on a solid offensive. The point of debate would be: ‘The masses were not in the equations of the massive infrastructure development’. Though, only time would tell, as political trends are always changing.
Zayyad I. Muhammad, writes from Abuja, 08036070980, email@example.com