Civil Rights Advocacy Body- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has admonished the Kaduna State governor Malam Nasir El-ruffai to cover his face in shame for declaring the National leaders of the Nigerian labour congress (NLC) ‘wanted’ for staging peaceful protest in Kaduna.
“We think the Chief executive of Kaduna State who has unfortunately become unarguably the most ‘productive’ creator of joblessness and number one anti-poor governor in the whole wide world is drunk with political power and does not respect the maxim that he is in government as the Chief Servant of the people and not their emperor or tyrant. The intent to declare legitimately recognized labour leaders wanted just for mobilizing workers to protest against certain anti workers policies of the current Kaduna State governor makes the government of Kaduna state appear like a primitive dictatorship “.
In a media release issued by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the National Coordinator and jointly endorsed by the Director of National Media Affairs Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Rights group warned the Kaduna State governor not to escalate the situation by manipulating the Nigerian Police paid with tax payers money to arrest the National leaders of the labour unions. Any arrest of the labour leaders may lead to a breakdown of law and order which must be avoided.
HURIWA stated that the oppressed, marginalized and heavily starved workers in the public service of Kaduna State have the Constitutionally guaranteed inalienable freedoms of movement and association as provided for in chapter four of the 1999 Constitution even as the famous human Rights group stated that the gross maltreatment and unjust treatment of Civil Servants in Kaduna State by the administration of Mr. El ruffai offends section 17 (1) of the Constitution which encapsulates the fundamental fact that the Nigerian state is grounded on the ideals of freedom, equality and justice just as section 39 authorizes workers to canvass their grievances constructively and seek for lawful redress. Section 39.-(1) states: ‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart, and information without interferences.’
HURIWA stated that the NLC has the right to stage a protest in any part of Nigeria in line with the spirit of collective bargaining principle because Section 40 permits every citizen to move freely thus:’Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests and section 41.-(1) which reinforces these fundamental freedoms thus: ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely through-out Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.’
HURIWA said it is illegal for Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, to have claimed that the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, and other top union heads are in hiding over alleged economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure in his state.
Recall that the Union had on Monday shutdown the state over sack of state workers and alleged planned sack of additional 11,000 workers.
HURIWA condemned the illegality that the Kaduna State Governor in a tweet on Tuesday placed an undisclosed reward for information on their whereabout. He said, “Ayuba Wabba and others of NLC Headquarters declared wanted for economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act.“Anyone that knows where he is hiding should send a message to @MOJKaduna. KDSG. There will be a handsome reward.”
The union president had on Monday called the action a ‘no retreat, no surrender’.
The Transmission Company of Nigeria said that the ongoing industrial action has resulted in the interruption of bulk electricity supply within the state.
Aviation workers in the state also backed the Nigeria Labour Congress to protest the decision of the state government to layoff thousand of its workers.
El- Rufai on Monday amidst the action maintained its government stance on laying of workers over low revenue inflow from the monthly Federal Account Allocation Committee shared to states.
HURIWA said the tweet purporting to declare National labour leaders wanted was an attempt to mobilize thugs to violently harm the peaceful protesters just as the Rights group wondered why a state governor will now be playing the ignominious role of an instigator of political thuggery and lawlessness.