For Nasarawa NLC,  It’s Workers’ Strike Gone Awry

By Chuwang Emmanuel in Lafia

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), in Nasarawa State is not really a happy union at the moment. Its anger stems from the fact that Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has developed an I-don’t-care attitude to the on-going strike and the public is also not giving them the desired backing; following series of protest by individuals and groups condemning the ongoing strike by the organised labour in the state

Findings by our reporter and with recent developments, show that government does not seem bothered by the continued industrial action, a situation which most of the workers, our correspondent spoke with, described as saddening.

A worker, who lambasted the governor for maintaining a rather stoic silence on the matter, said while other state governments have found ways of resolving issues with labour in their various states, Almakura has remained lukewarm.

“We are not happy with the present situation, the governor is not showing any concern about the strike.

“This is a situation that is neither obtainable nor desirable in a democratic society.”

He added that the yearning of the organised labour, which gave rise to the strike action, is in tandem with the provisions of the constitution.

“Public Schools and hospitals have remained shut for too long and it is time for Government to ensure that the strike is called off for the interest of the state.”

It would be recalled that the organised labour in the state had embarked on industrial action since Thursday, 28 January, to compel the state government to effect staff promotion, annual increment, payment of pension and gratuity and the autonomy of the Judiciary.

Since Monday major streets in some local government headquarters across the state had witnessed series of protest discrediting the strike.

Organisers of the protest, which includes Student union bodies, market women, political groups, etc, said the protest was staged against the continued strike by NLC in the state, insisting that it has lost value.

Halima Abubakar, who is also a civil servant, wondered why the leadership of NLC had refused to sign a proposed agreement reached between the union and government, despite the fact that the state government had earlier made efforts to end the strike.

She said the strike has lost its purpose as it has been hijacked by some politicians to “scuttle Gov. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura’s administration,” she said.

She described Almakura as a “labour-friendly governor” and commended him for his maturity in handling the matter.

Receiving the protesters in Keffi, the chairman of Keffi local government council, Mohammed Yakubu Dikko, commended the group for their peaceful conduct and for reasoning with government.

Dikko, who expressed the belief that the strike would end soon, praised the group for their maturity.

But in his reaction, the state chairman NLC, Comrade Abdullahi Adeka, said the union was not bothered by the protests, noting that the protesters were impostors hired to sabotage the union’s efforts.

According to him, we were aware that they hired some students and motorcycle operators to stage the protest, instead of addressing the issues on ground.

He accused government of working to split the union, saying that such action would not help matters.

Adeka however said that the union is willing to shift grounds if the state government shows genuine interest in addressing the issues at stake.

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