By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
The President of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Philibus Wabba has dismissed the threat of arrest pronounced on him by Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai over the crippling labour strike in the state with a wave of the hand.
Wabba also said El-Rufai has no Constitutional Powers to declare him a wanted person, pointing out that he has not done anything outside the laws of Nigeria and that of International Labour Organisation (ILO) and NLC.
Governor El-Rufai had early this week declared Comrade Wabba wanted for what he claimed an “Economic Sabotage” against Kaduna state government following a state-wide strike embarked upon by NLC in the ‘Crocodile State’.
The labour strike which commenced on Monday has crippled economic and social activities in Kaduna state hence an angry El-Rufai has declared NLC President wanted and adviced him to “surrender” himself at the nearest Police formation in the country.
But the NLC boss who spoke on Wednesday on Channels Television Sunrise Daily programme posited that El-Rufai has no such powers to declare him a wanted person.
“I am sorry to tell Governor El-Rufai clearly that he has no power to declare me a wanted person. Where did he derive his power? He is not the Nigerian Police nor any of the security agencies in the country”, argued Wabba who is still in Kaduna leading the on-going labour
strike in the state.
Asked when NLC strike in Kaduna state will end, he said that it Wii continue untill the state government changes its attitude and engage Labour in fruitful discussions to resolve the imbroglio.
On the sack of civil servants including those who do not have the required certificate or came through the back doors, Wabba said NLC is not against disengaging unqualified persons from service but laid down procedures must be followed.
Said he: “Anyone who is not qualified and you employ him, Labour Law says you must pay him wages he or she had worked for. This is what we are talking about. There is a clear Provisions in Civil Service on how to disengage civil servants who have fake certificates.
“If you employ a person as a carpenter in your organisation and after 30 years you found out that he has not improved himself, the right thing to do is to pay him off. Again, we are saying that before you disengage any civil servant, invite Labour to seat down with you to ensure that you follow known Labour provisions”, Wabba concluded.
Meanwhile, Hajia Bariatu Mohammed,
Kaduna State Head of Service, has vowed that the state government will not back off in its “Downsizing or Rightsizing” exercise.
According to her the state government is doing the right thing by carrying out the Verification Exercise which she said started in 2017 and still on-going until unqualified persons in the civil service are weeded out of the system.
Mohammed also confirmed that Kaduna state government is currently recruiting people to replace those who have been shown the doors, arguing that NLC leadership has not come forward to hold discussion with the government.