..Pledge to redress economic damages by NLC
By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Governor, Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State has pledged to redress the alleged damages done by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on the state’s economy during the 5-day warning strike, insisting that the government is not in a position to pay redundant workers.
El-rufai in a radio broadcast at the weekend however commended the federal government for it’s effort to intervene in the logjam between labour and the State Government, while also thanking the citizens for their alleged resilient during the strike period.
He said: “I address you today on behalf of the Kaduna State Government to thank you for your resilience in the face of the sustained assault on your rights, freedoms, and livelihoods by the NLC over the previous four days.
“We appreciate the calm response by our citizens to the NLC’s unwarranted provocation, lawlessness, and denial of essential services.
“We thank our traditional, community and religious leaders who helped to manage the strong feelings of our people against the needless pain imposed on them”.
While lamenting over the strike by labour, he remarked that “Kaduna Government wishes to express its regrets that such lawlessness was permitted by those with the duty to prevent it”, adding that “we sympathise with all our citizens for the denial of electricity four days and the persistent attempt to disrupt normal life and prevent government offices, hospitals, banks, and other private businesses from functioning.”
Açcording to him, “the laws of our country do not allow anyone to shutdown essential services”, insisting that ” the right to strike does not include license to violate public and private facilities or to shut them down in any way”.
“Persons on strike can withdraw from the facilities where they are working, but they are not allowed to stop those facilities from functioning. As your government, we will pursue accountability for the crimes that have been committed and seek remedies for our people”, he stated.
He stressed that Kaduna State Government has done a lot for the welfare of workers, including payment of the minimum wage, pension, and other entitlements of civil servants, noting that “any states are yet to pay these wages, while some that began paying have reversed it.”
“But it is the state that is consistently paying that the NLC came to sabotage. We will not become a state that only pays salary, and no amount of pressure will change that. We are a state that believes in progress and development, and we will continue to prioritize this.”
“We cannot continue to use 84% to 96% of our revenues to pay salaries of less than 1% of the population.
The rest of our people, all 99% of them, need better schools, hospitals, water supply, roads, markets and support for agriculture to make a living outside government”.
Açcording to the Governor, “we will uphold our oath of office to promote the welfare and progress of 10 million citizens and we will not spend all or most government resources on the less than 100,000 persons that are public servants.”
“Everyone can see how our urban renewal programme is changing Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan for the better. Even our adversaries admit that our social services have improved, and jobs are being created by the private sector due to a conducive economic environment.”
“Therefore, we will rightsize the public service in the interest of the state. In shrinking the public service, we will reduce the number of political appointees and civil servants.”
“We are verifying personnel records to remove staff without the required qualifications or with fake qualifications. While we exit unqualified and poorly skilled people, we continue to recruit more teachers, health workers and other professionals for our agencies.”
Besides, El-rufai noted: “in 2017, we offered land for farming to the unqualified teachers that were disengaged. Not many took up the offer, but it is still available, along with access to concessionary funding for SMEs.”
“We are in difficult times. Let no one pretend that we can manage the situation by not taking the required measures. We are honest enough to confront our challenges and not behave like the ostrich. Let us all stand together against the entitled unionists who invaded our state to inflict pain and misery on our people,” the Governor added.
Meanwhile, former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship Aspirant in the be State, Alhaji Shuaibu Idris Miqati said in a statement, ” Iam happy to note the progress thus far made in the process of restoration of normal life in our great state.”
“I commend the efforts of all parties particularly the Federal Government for its intervention and the warring parties in the crisis for their understanding thus far.
Life is usually full of challenges and one should stand firm on principles and the path of honour.”
“Both parties have done just that in their respective positions! Its important however for everyone to realise that without shifting position, peace may elude us. It’s in this regards that I seize the opportunity to crave the indulgence of all parties to imbibe and inculcate the spirit of love and care, feelings and concerns and above all live let’s live so that there can be continuity in normalcy of our daily affairs.”