Mass Sack: Day One Protests, Strike Paralyse Activities in Kaduna


THE Day One mass protests and 5-day warning strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to resist the mass sack of workers by the Kaduna State government totally paralysed business activities in the city of Kaduna and environs on Monday.

The peaceful protest commenced with a rally from the Kaduna State Secretariat of the NLC from where a massive crowd of protesters proceeded to seal the Kaduna State Secretariat and other government offices.

Also grounded were train services between Abuja and Kaduna as railway stations at both ends in Kubwa and Rigasa shut. The Kaduna airport and other key business and commercial hubs in the state were also grounded.

Union officials early on Monday shut government ministries and parastatals and denying civil servants access to the state secretariat, which led to civil servants, mainly those from levels 14 and above, milling outside the gate of the State Secretariat along Independence Way.

Also, private business ventures as well as commercial banks, filling stations and public schools were all shut on Monday morning because of the protest and strike which was highly promoted in the media.

Affiliate industrial unions of the NLC have since last week passed directives to their members to mobilise for the protest and strike which will last till Friday, May 21.

The NLC said if the Kaduna State government failed to recall the sacked workers after the warning strike, it will be compelled to embark on an indefinite strike.

The Kaduna State government has since 2016 embarked on a massive purge that has thrown over 50 thousand workers into the job market. The worst affected are teachers and local government employees, with both sectors having lost over 40 thousand workers.

Speaking at the rally held at the NLC Secretariat, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said the protest and 5-day warning strike is a subtle call on Governor Nasir el-Rufai to reinstate the sacked workers.

Already, following a directive from the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) last week, electricity supply in the state has been cut since midnight of Saturday thereby plunging the state in total blackout on Sunday while several travellers were stranded at the Rigasa train station on Monday.

Comrade Wabba said the mass sack has caused untold hardship and trauma on those affected and their families.

“The railways are not working, the airport is shut down, fuel stations are locked, power is cut off and there is massive solidarity. The Government lied that they called us for a meeting yesterday. I actually received a call around 9pm yesterday for a meeting, I told them to make the invitation formal, but the person that called me later called back saying that the meeting had been cancelled. I have the number that called me and recorded the conversation,” Wabba said.

According to Wabba, besides the sacked workers, another insensitive and worrisome policy of the el-Rufai leadership of Kaduna State is the increment in tuition fees at the state-owned university as most of the children are children of sacked workers. “We gathered that about 70 per cent of the children at Kaduna State University (KASU) are Indigenes of Kaduna State and some of their parents have been sacked,” Wabba stated.

So far, the state government has not issued any statement with respect to today’s mass action and strike. However, the state government had on Sunday in a statement insisted that the state government would not bow to blackmail, and stressing its earlier position that it was not sustainable for it to spend 84 to 96 per cent of federal allocation on salaries and personnel costs.

NLC assures of peaceful action
Meanwhile the Kaduna State Council of NLC dismissed as false the claims by the state government that workers had mobilised mobs to disrupt peace during the five-day strike.

A statement by Comrade Ayuba Suleiman, NLC’s Kaduna State Council Chairperson, on Sunday, assured workers and the general public of their commitment to maintain peace during the strike action.

“It is not in the character of Labour to indulge in such uncivilised manner,” Comrade Suleiman said, adding that only politicians use thugs to advance their cause. He therefore alerted the general public to watch out for thugs he alleged were recruited by the Kaduna State government to disrupt the peace in order to blame the NLC.

“We are calling the attention of the general public to the alleged planned mobilisation of thugs by the State Government to discredit our peaceful protest of tomorrow. Hence, we advocate that the people of Kaduna State should be vigilant and stand against this plan.

“Earlier, we were misled to commend the State Government for being the first State to implement N30,000 minimum wage to both civil servants and the retirees. But, however, we noted with dismay that the government reverted to the old minimum wage of N18, 000 in the month of April.”

According to Comrade Suleiman, about 20,000 state civil servants received half salary in April, “which is even less than the former N18, 000 minimum wage.”

He also revealed that the state government had denied health workers almost all allowances such as hazard, call-duty, shifting and rural posting adding that the Kaduna state government has failed to pay the retirement benefits of 80 per cent of the 35,000 civil servants it disengaged in 2017.

“It’s sad for the Kaduna State Government to claim its commitment to training of workers while those that are qualified for promotion remain stagnant for years.

“On claims by the government of supporting civil servants to pay for houses through mortgages on a single digit interest, this claim is false. The reality of this was that this mortgage was gotten by the joint effort of NLC and TUC.

“The State Government in its ignorance failed to realize the obvious fact that payments of salaries have multiplying effects on the social welfare and economy. In other words, when salaries are paid it reflects down the line.”


Let's Keep you updated


We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here