No restoration of electricity, no negotiations, Kaduna tells FG, NLC

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Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State has said no official from his administration will go into talks with the federal government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) with a view of negotiating with the labour workforce on a ceasefire without the restoration of electricity in the state.

Trouble began after the state government publicized its resolve to rightsize the public service in the state, saying a significant percentage of federal allocations coming to it was spent on wages of workers.

The NLC rejected the resolution urging its members to embark on a five-day warning strike while protesting on the streets across the states. Workers in the medical, electricity, railways, petroleum sectors among others joined in the industrial action which paralysed the economy of the state.

Weighing in on the third day of the warning strike the federal government called on both parties to ceasefire and return to the negotiation table. But the state government is insisting that unless electricity in the state is restored, none of its official with participate in the negotiation called by the federal government.

“No official of Kaduna State will go to Abuja for any meeting with FGN or NLC when the citizens of the State have no electricity,” an update from Mr El-rufai read Wednesday night. “We hold the FGN responsible for inability to asset its ownership rights over TCN. No electricity, no meeting.”

In a statement issued by Muyiwa Adekeye, the governor’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, the state government said it was yet to see any sign that the strike has been suspended.

“The Kaduna State Government is yet to see evidence that the NLC is backing off from its campaign of economic and social sabotage against the people of the State,” Mr Adekeye said. “Electric power is yet to be restored, after it was shutdown at dawn on Sunday, 16th May 2021, in brazen violation of the laws protecting essential services and infrastructure.

“That action removed any basis for state government officials to meet the NLC last Sunday. Denying our people electricity about 18 hours to the advertised commencement of their organised sabotage was akin to putting a gun on the government’s head. Government has a lawful duty not to indulge blackmail.

“Restoring electricity is vital to relieving some of the pain that needless acts of lawlessness have inflicted on our people. The unimpeded provision of essential services is vital to civilised order.

“Those who have disrupted it should promptly reverse themselves, not expect that it will be a matter for negotiation, much less being viewed as a precondition. KDSG will not participate in such a negotiation or countenance one whilst our people are still being denied their right to electricity,” he added.