By Mohammad Tijjani and Stella Kabruk
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba on Thursday said the organised labour would not be intimidated by anybody in the pursuit of its legitimate rights.
Waba who led thousands of workers to Government House, Kaduna said the union would not back down in its opposition to the sack of 36,000 workers by Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i.
The NLC president accused the governor of disobeying court order and using the security agencies to intimidate the workers who were on peaceful protest.
According to him, information about competency bandied by the governor as excuse for the sack was false but a predetermined agenda to reduce the state workforce.
“The sack of 36,000 workers has nothing to do with competency; Kaduna state government didn’t conduct competency test for local government workers yet they were sacked.
“We are here to defend the right of 36,000 workers and their families that have been disengaged from the state civil service.
“The last time we were here, we talked of only 21,000 teachers, but today as we speak over 4,000 local government workers have been issued sack letters, and over 8,000 from ministries, department and agencies including tertiary institutions have been sacked.
“This is cruelty, as this is not what we bargained for and we can’t keep quiet in a decent society where this is happening.
“We have now tested the waters and the struggle will be carried out to every state.
“In Kaduna state no worker is safe, no family is safe and it is better they are defeated struggling than to be defeated in their comfort zone.
“Injury to one is an injury to all and I am happy that our unions are here in full force to support us.
“This solidarity must continue because today is for Kaduna workers and tomorrow can be workers in other states.’’
Wabba condemned the deployment of security to the rally, saying “deploying security agencies with arms to armless workers is condemnable even globally.’’
He recalled that El-Rufa’i was a beneficiary of freedom of association including protests organised by the NLC in the past.
“We wrote to the Governor officially we are going to deliver our letter of protest but here we are because they are not connected to the people, relating with the people and have no concern for the people that is why they are not here.
“In 2012 governor El-Rufai joined us in a struggle where he was given T-shirt and Cap, the picture is there in the social media.
It would be recalled that 8,000 policemen were deployed around Kaduna metropolis ahead of the NLC protest.