‘They Are Sabotaging Economic Activities Of Kaduna State,’ Govt Condemns NLC Protest

National NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba leads workers during the protest in Kaduna.

 

Kaduna State government has reacted to the Nigeria Labour (NLC) protest which has resulted in a power outage, shut down of the airport, and fuel queues in various parts of the state.

In reaction to the protest, the Head of Service in Kaduna State, Baritu Mohammed told Channels Television that the protesting workers are sabotaging economic activities in the state.

She added that the Kaduna State government will not hesitate to use Trade Union Act which prohibits strike by essential workers against the protesters.

“What is happening now in Kaduna is not an industrial action but a campaign of social and economic sabotage. Kaduna State government is functioning despite illegal attempts to lock our offices, hospitals, and schools. The schools are opened, our offices and hospitals are opened.

“NLC is aware that inflicting pain on citizens, locking hospitals and public institutions, shutting down electricity will not change or affect the decision of Kaduna State government.

“It will not change the intention of the Kaduna State government to use Trade Union Act which prohibits strike by essential workers,” Mohammed said.

The HoS also claimed that NLC leadership are forcing workers to join the protest noting that some fuel stations were threatened by the NLC Leadership.

Meanwhile, National NLC Chairman, Ayuba Wabba, during the protest, said due process was not observed in the recent disengagement of the workers from the Local Government Service, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and Primary Health Care Agency.

He added that all the unions including Student Unions and pensioners are part of the protest as they are all directly affected by the disengagement of workers.

In solidarity with the protest by the NLC, aviation workers have shut down operations of Kaduna International Airport (KIA).

The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), said the airport would remain shut for the period of the warning strike.

Panic Buying In Kaduna As Long Fuel Queues Surface

A screengrab taken on May 16, 2021, shows some cars on a queue at a filling station in Kaduna State.

 

Long queues have surfaced at petrol stations in various parts of Kaduna State, especially in the metropolis and other surrounding towns.

Motorists besieged filling stations on Sunday in what can be described as panic buying of fuel ahead of the planned industrial action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate unions in the state.

When Channels Television monitored the situation in the state capital, many petrol stations did not open for business on Sunday.

The few ones that opened, however, operated only one or two pumps – a situation that sent the residents into a panic mood.

While some motorists found it difficult to buy fuel into cars and jerrycans, many spent over four hours in queues at petrol stations without getting the product.

This led to a situation where some petrol stations and black marketers took advantage of motorists to exploit them, putting the petrol pump price at about N172 per litre.

Some of the residents have described the development as very worrisome, saying the situation would be worse on Monday when the labour unions shut down activities in the state.

This screengrab taken on May 16, 2021, shows some cars on a queue at a filling station in Kaduna State.

 

Following the lingering dispute between the state government and labour union, the NLC had directed a total withdrawal of services to Kaduna by workers for five days in the first instance, from Sunday.

In compliance with the directive, the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) asked its members in the state to down tools from the set date.

The union accused the state government of taking anti-labour actions, noting its decision to embark on a mass sack of teachers and other civil servants in the state.

It also alleged that the government has refused to implement the new minimum wage, as provided for in the new minimum wage law.

Although the state government has since refuted the claims by the labour union, it announced in April that it would right-size its public service.

 

The government explained that the decision was necessary to enable it to cope with fiscal challenges and preserve its ability to use its resources for the entire state.

It noted that verification of personnel data was being conducted to determine the specific number of political appointees and civil servants that will be affected.

The government had also denied the allegations of anti-labour activities, stressing that workers have been receiving the new minimum wage since 2019.

Workers’ Sack: NLC To Shut Down Kaduna On Monday

 

Barring any last-minute change of mind, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate unions will on Monday embark on a five-day warning strike over the recent disengagement of civil servants by the state government.

The planned move followed Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s announcement in April to disengage civil servants in the state, citing fiscal reasons.

El-Rufai said a significant amount of the statutory federal allocations to the state is being spent on the wages of public servants.

But the NLC has vowed to resist the action of the state government, accusing the governor of not being sensitive to the plight of the workers.

Speaking in Kaduna on Sunday, the NLC Chairman in the state, Ayuba Suleiman, disclosed that the industrial action will be accompanied by a peaceful protest which will be led by the President of the Union, Ayuba Wabba and other labour leaders across the country.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on May 3, 2021.

 

He explained that the strike which will involve grounding of all socio-economic activities in both public and private sectors in a bid to force the Kaduna State Government to reverse the sack of over 7,000 local government workers and teachers and also suspend its plan to sack another 11,000 civil servants any moment from now.

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“We are very much ready for the industrial action on Monday and it is going to be a dual activity. We are embarking on the withdrawal of activities and equally going to stage a peaceful protest come Monday to press home our demand, grievances to the state government,” he said.

“I want to assure you that this industrial action is going to be under the care of our amiable President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba. We have had series of meetings today, we met with various stakeholders including all sectors of the economy in the state towards the success of this industrial action.

“In total, you have about 7,700 workers that are disengaged at the local government level. As I am talking to you, over 11,000 workers of the state civil service are pencilled for disengagement. That is why in this April, because of their intention, over 20,000 workers have not yet received their April salary.”

But reacting, the Kaduna State Government defended its decision, saying it is in the interest of over 10 million citizens of the state.

The Commissioner for Local Government, Jafaru Sani, said not even the threat of industrial action or blackmail by the union will make the state government to reverse its decision.

He also debunked the claims of the labour union that the government has pencilled down over 11,000 workers for disengagement,  adding that there are plans to right-size its public service, but however did give the figures.

The Commissioner explained that the government’s decision to lay off some workers and political appointees is necessary to enable it cope with fiscal challenges and preserve its ability to use its resources for the entire state.

He also denied the allegations of anti-labour activities, stressing that Kaduna State workers have been receiving the new minimum wage since 2019.

The commissioner said: “This government has reiterated its commitment to the welfare of its workers. It insists that this is sustainable only in the context of the general welfare of residents of the state that the government is mandated to serve.

“It is not sustainable to persist in spending 84 to 96 per cent of the FAAC received on salaries and personnel cost as has been the experience of the state since October 2020.”

Bandits Demanding N100m After N60m Ransom, Kaduna Varsity Students’ Parents Cry Out

 

Aggrieved parents of the remaining 20 abducted students of Greenfield University in Kaduna State have appealed to the Federal Government to urgently assist them in rescuing their children in the captivity of bandits.

The parents who met on Friday for a prayer session in Kaduna decried the continued stay of their children in the custody of the bandits since they were abducted from the school on April 20.

Chairman of the aggrieved parents, Marcus Zarmai, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use his office to secure the release of the students before something sinister happens to them.

According to him, the kidnappers are demanding the sum of N100 million even after the parents have collectively paid them over N60 million ransom for the release of their children without any success.

The expression on the faces of the parents clearly showed the trauma and nightmare they have gone through in the last three weeks.

Having exhausted all the money they have to pay as ransom, the parents appealed to the Federal Government to assist them to pay the ransom demanded or find any other way to ensure the safe return of their children.

A grieving mother of one of the abducted students wipes her tears at a prayer session in Kaduna on May 14, 2021.

 

Among those kidnapped by the bandits is a woman whose daughter, Esther Chukwuemeka, joined in praying for the release of the abducted persons.

Esther decried that her mother’s absence has created a vacuum in their family and appealed to the bandits to release her mother.

The mass abduction of students for ransom payment has been on the increase in Kaduna State in recent times, with the government insisting that it would neither negotiate nor pay any money to bandits.

Less than four weeks ago, bandits stormed the school in Chikun Local Government Area of the state where they abducted a total of 20 students and three members of staff of the university.

Few days after the incident, the armed men killed five of the students and threatened to kill the others if their parents and government fail to pay N800 million ransom.

While one of the students was later freed about two weeks ago after his parents reportedly paid a ransom for his release, the fate of the remaining students still hangs in the balance.

Air Force Kills ‘Several’ Bandits, Bombs Camps In Kaduna

Boko Haram: Two Air Force Pilots, Three Crew Members Die In Helicopter Crash
A file photo of a military helicopter

 

 

The air component of Operation Thunder Strike has killed several bandits during an air raid in Birnin Gwari and Chikun local government areas of Kaduna State.

The Armed reconnaissance according to the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, was conducted over Erena, Kusasu, Kuduru, Kulefe, Kusherki, and Shiroro in neighboring Niger State as well as Chikun and environs, in Chikun Local Government Area.

He said that fleeing Bandits who were seen fleeing Kaduna State part of Kusasu in Chikun LGA on motorcycles were trailed by the crew and subsequently neutralized.

 

A similar operation was also conducted along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway, Olam Farms, Rugu, Akilbu, Polewire Rijana, Katari, Jere, and adjoining settlements where normal human activities and free flow of traffic were observed along the highway and rail line.

Additionally, strike aircraft carried out operations over Jan Birni, Birnin Gwari local government area, which was observed to be active with bandits. The targets were attacked by the aircraft and were subsequently confirmed that some bandits were indeed taken out and the camp set ablaze and destroyed.

A second mission was flown over another identified camp in the area, which was also attacked, set ablaze, and completely destroyed by two strike aircraft.

 

The operations continued as aircraft conducted armed reconnaissance and show-of-force over Birnin Gwari, Kaduna metropolis, and Zaria. Free flow of traffic was similarly observed along the expressways and rail lines.

Aruwan however, says that the air operations, which include air interdiction, armed reconnaissance, and patrols are set to be sustained over the coming days over Kaduna metropolis and other areas of interest in the state.

While Major highways will also be covered, including the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari, Kaduna-Abuja, Kaduna-Zaria, Kaduna-Kachia, and Kaduna-Afaka roads.

Labour Dispute: Fuel Scarcity Looms In Kaduna As NUPENG Directs Workers To Withdraw Service

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The disagreement between the government and labour union in Kaduna State is worsening and its consequences already stare residents in the face.

One of the negative effects of the impasse is the looming scarcity of fuel as members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) threaten to down tools for an initial period of five days.

This followed the directive of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that all workers in the state should withdraw services within the period, in protest against some of the actions of the government.

The union accused the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, of anti-labour acts such as the sacking of many workers in the state and refusal to implement the new minimum wage.

In a circular obtained by Channels Television on Wednesday, the oil workers were directed to down tools from work from Sunday.

“Following the series of anti-labour acts and behaviour of the Kaduna State government being led by Mr El-Rufai, as shown in the mass sack of teachers and other civil servants in the state, and his refusal to implement the new minimum wage as provided for in the new minimum wage law, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed that there should be a total withdrawal of services to Kaduna State by the Nigerian Workers for five days in the first instance from Sunday, 16 May 2021.

“Consequent upon that directive, you are hereby direct to effect maximum compliance of this directive for the successful execution of this campaign against anti-labour activities and behaviour of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State.

“Our solidarity remains constant for the union makes us strong!” said the circular dated May 11, 2021, and addressed to the Chairman/Secretary of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) branch of NUPENG.

In this document, the oil workers were directed to withdraw their service from May 16, 2021.

 

First To Pay New Minimum Wage

Although the state government has since refuted the claims by the labour union, it announced in April that it would right-size its public service.

The government explained that the decision was necessary to enable it to cope with fiscal challenges and preserve its ability to use its resources for the entire state.

It noted that verification of personnel data was being conducted to determine the specific number of political appointees and civil servants that will be affected.

The government had also denied the allegations of anti-labour activities, stressing that workers have been receiving the new minimum wage since 2019.

“In September 2019, the Kaduna State government became the first government to begin paying the new N30,000 minimum wage and consequential adjustments.

“The state government also increased minimum pension to N30,000 monthly for those on the defined benefits scheme. The state is honouring these obligations and will continue to do so,” Governor El-Rufai’s spokesperson, Muyiwa Adekeye, had said in a statement on Monday last week.

A file photo of Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

 

He added that the state government banned casualisation of staff in 2017, the same year in which authorised establishments were approved for all the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs).

Adekeye said Kaduna North and Kaduna South LGAs were authorised to have 256 staff each, and 304 staff were approved for each of the other 21 local councils.

Kaduna APC Primary: Aggrieved LG Chairmanship Aspirants Reject Result

A flag of the APC.

 

Some chairmanship aspirants who participated in last Saturday’s Chairmanship primary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kaduna state have rejected the outcome of the exercise, with a call on the leadership of the party to cancel the primary and fix a new date for a fresh exercise.

The aspirants accused the APC Electoral Committee of violating the election guidelines in order to undermine the smooth conduct of the primary poll.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, one of the chairmanship aspirants in Kaduna North Local Government Area, Idris Amoke, alleged that the primary election was conducted without the authentic voters register to ascertain the total number of accredited delegates as well as non-availability of election result sheets in all the polling units.

While noting that such an action could threaten the chances of the APC in the forthcoming local government election if allowed to sail, Amoke called on the party to fix a new date for the conduct of the chairmanship primary election in compliance with the party’s electoral guidelines and the constitution of the country.

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But reacting to the allegations, the Kaduna state APC chairman, Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada (rtd), told Channels Television that the party followed all the laid down rules and election guidelines in conducting the primary election.

He however explained that fresh elections will be conducted in some local governments where it was established that voting did not take place or some infractions occurred such as Birnin Gwari, Lere, Makarfi,  Jaba , Kaduna South, Kachia and Kudan.

Gunmen Kill Community Leader, Wife, Daughter-In-Law In Kaduna

Kaduna has been a target for kidnappers in recent times.

 

At least three people have been killed in an attack by gunmen in Jemaa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Among the victims is the Secretary to the Ward Head of Golkofa in Jemaa local government, Sergeant Christopher Madaki (rtd), his wife and the daughter-in- law.

Confirming the incident via a statement issued on Sunday, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan said the gunmen invaded the residence of the retired military officer last night and opened fire on them.

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While the community leader, his wife, Mary, and his son’s wife Alice, were later confirmed dead, his son, Clement Musa Madaki survived with injuries inflicted on him by the assailants.

In another development, an irate youth have killed a man identified as Abba Muhammad in Kachia Local Government Area of the state.

The man was accused of killing Hamidu Nura, an act which angered the youths, forcing them to seize Muhammad and in the process stabbed him with knives and other dangerous weapons until he died.

Aruwan said that the security agencies were currently investigating the two incidents in order to ascertain what led to their deaths.

He also disclosed that security agencies have made some arrests of notorious bandits across the state in different operations.

Buhari Welcomes Kaduna College Students’ Return, Seeks Greenfield Students’ Release

President Muhammed Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the release of the abducted students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanization in Afaka, Kaduna State.

Buhari in a statement issued on Wednesday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, also called for the release of the kidnapped students of Greenfield University and other people still in captivity.

“We are happy they have been released,” President Buhari was quoted as saying, hours after the college students regained their freedom.

“We express our deep appreciation to all the actors who contributed one way or the other to this happy outcome, in particular, the defence and security agencies, the officials of the Ministry of Environment and the government of Kaduna State. We thank Nigerians for their prayers.”

Gunmen had in the early hours of March 11 stormed the school and whisked away 29 students and released them 55 days after.

Mr Abdullahi Usman, who is the Chairman of the Parents’ Committee, had confirmed the release of the students by bandits to Channels Television, although he didn’t state if any ransom was paid to secure the students’ freedom.

President Buhari calls for steadfastness and security awareness on the part of citizens and the law enforcement agencies and deplores the increasing politicization of security in the country by opportunistic politicians.

The President appeals for the release of the students of the Greenfield University and all other citizens held in captivity, expressing the strong determination of his administration to ensure that Nigerians lived in a country where everyone can move where they want when they want without the fear of kidnapping and banditry.

Garba Shehu

Senior Special Assistant to the President

(Media & Publicity)

May 5, 2021

Troops Rescue 13 Kidnap Victims As Bandits Kill Two In Kaduna

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of soldiers.

 

Two people have been killed by bandits in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

This is according to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, who said the bandits invaded Gwagwada District in the local government,  shot two community volunteers to death and also burnt a local church and looted some houses in the area during the operation.

However, troops of the Nigerian military successfully rescued 13 people who were abducted by the bandits.

The kidnap victims, according to the Commissioner, went to work at a farm located around Bakin Kasuwa in the Gwagwada general area of Chikun local government when they were attacked by the armed bandits in the process.

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Troops on receiving credible intelligence of the abduction trailed the bandits to a forest near Bana village and engaged them in a gun duel.

This led to the rescue of the 13 people.

Receiving the report, Governor Nasir El-Rufai thanked the troops and commended them warmly for the successful rescue operation.

He also commiserated with the families of the deceased volunteers and prayed for the repose of their souls.

While sympathising with the leadership and members of the razed church over the unfortunate attack, El-Rufai directed the State Emergency Management Agency to conduct an immediate assessment of the damage.

VIDEO: 29 College Students Abducted In Kaduna Regain Freedom

 

The remaining 29 students abducted from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation, Afaka in Kaduna State have regained freedom.

Mr Abdullahi Usman, who is the Chairman of the Parents’ Committee, confirmed the release of the students by bandits to Channels Television on Wednesday in Kaduna.

He explained that the victims were released some minutes past 4pm around the Kidanda area in Giwa Local Government Area of the state, and were on their way back to the state capital.

Usman, however, refused to disclose the amount paid as ransom to the bandits for the release of the students.

 

55 Days Of Horror

It is freedom at last for the remaining students of the institution after 55 days of horror in the captivity of the bandits.

Some of the students rescued by soldiers alighting from a military truck at the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation in Kaduna State on March 13, 2021.

 

Bandits stormed the school in Igabi Local Government Area very early on March 11 with the intention to abduct many students.

While they were on a mission that could be described as a silent attack, a student who sighted them raised an alarm – causing tension in the school.

Soldiers in the area promptly responded to a distress call and engaged the bandits in a fierce gunfight in a bid to thwart the attack.

The action of the security operatives led to the rescue of 180 people, comprising 132 male students, 40 female students, and eight civilian staff.

Despite the intervention, the bandits still abducted 23 female and 16 male students, leaving their parents in despair with calls on the government to rescue them.

Sadly, one of those missing was a female student, Fatima Shamaki, whose father died from a heart attack after the news of her abduction was broken to him.

The bandits had released videos in which they made some demands and threatened to kill the students should their demands were not met.

The premises of the Federal College of Forestry in Kaduna State.

 

323 Deaths In Three Months

Amid heightened calls for their release by the parents of the victims and concerned persons, the state government insisted that it would not negotiate with the bandits.

It, however, accused the armed men of killing students in the state to blackmail the government and compel it to abandon its ‘no ransom, no negotiation’ policy.

The students were later released in three batches in a space of one month – five on April 5, five on April 8, and 29 on March 5.

Banditry in Kaduna has taken a disturbing trend as the armed men killed a total of 323 people between January and March.

The first quarter security report by the government also revealed that within the period, bandits killed 292 males and 20 females, as well as kidnapped 949 people.

Kaduna Central senatorial district accounted for 236 deaths within Birnin Gwari, Chikun, Igabi, and Kajuru Local Government Areas.

Troops Neutralise Several Bandits In Kaduna

Troops on patrol

 

 

Troops of the Nigerian Airforce have killed several bandits during an operation in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna state.

The bandits were killed while they were gathering at a location following credible intelligence about their movement.

The Kaduna state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, says in a statement that the ministry had on Sunday, May 2, 2021, received intelligence of bandits congregating at the outskirts of Kugu in Birnin Gwari LGA, which is also proximal to some villages in Shiroro Local Government of Niger State.

He said that on receipt of the intelligence – which was dispatched to the military and other security agencies for further confirmation and action – the Nigerian Airforce component of Operation Thunder Strike (OPTS) mobilized for armed reconnaissance.

“The first mission was conducted over the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari road, Koriga, Polewire, Gagafada, Manini, Udawa, Labi, Buruku, and adjoining settlements.

“The target location was acquired, and the bandits were engaged and neutralised accordingly at the outskirts of Kugu village.

“In a second mission, armed reconnaissance was carried out over the Kaduna-Abuja road, Olam Company, Rugu, Akilbu, Polewire, Rijana, Kateri, and Jere.

“Normal human and vehicular movements were observed”, the statement added.