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Kaduna Boils As Govt, Labour Battle

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Tension reached fever pitch Tuesday, May 18 when Kaduna State Governor El-Rufai offered a ‘handsome reward’ for anybody that will provide information leading to the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba. The Kaduna State chapter of the NLC had called a 5-day warning strike to protest the Governor’s decision to lay off thousands of workers. The NLC condemned the move on the ground that he did not fulfil laid down processes and laws. Governor El-Rufai however insisted on his course of action, prompting the strike, which was supported by the national headquarters of the NLC, leading him to declare the NLC President wanted. According to the Governor, the declaration is pursuant to an existing legal proceeding against the NLC President. In defiance, the NLC President dared the Governor to enforce the arrest, with observers calling for restraint from all sides, especially calling on the Kaduna State government to tread carefully on his declaration of the NLC President as wanted. Governor El-Rufai has tried to justify his laying off of such high numbers of workers on the ground that the State uses over 90% of its income to pay workers who constitute less than 1.5% of the State’s population. While his argument may resonate very well with experts who worry about the high numbers of civil servants that often fail to deliver on efficiency and effectiveness, there is a worry that this is coming at a time when governments all over the world are making efforts to cushion the economic effects of COVID-19 for their citizens.