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El-Rufai faults workers’ protests after power outage, fuel queues persist across Kaduna

By News Desk

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has faulted decisions by workers across the state to embark on demonstrations and industrial action over the sacking of some public servants, a development that has led to power outage and return of fuel queues across the state.

He added that the industrial action and other subsequent moves by the workers backed by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would not deter his administration from going ahead with its downsizing of workers who are surplus to requirements.

Reacting to the workers’ protest on Monday, the governor described the industrial action as economic sabotage, vowing that his administration would not hesitate in taking the right decisions to salvage the state from unnecessary government expenses.

“Kaduna State Government affirms that the conditions that compel it to rightsize are not altered by the NLC’s campaign of economic and social sabotage.

“The NLC showed in 2017 that it has no interest in public welfare, going violent over 21,780 failed teachers who KDSG replaced with 25,000,” the post read.

It would be recalled that activities in Kaduna State were on Monday paralysed after the five-day warning strike directed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over irregular sacking of civil servants took full course, a development that led to the closure of schools, banks, and other business premises had been closed.

The National Union of Banks, Insurance and Finance Institutions Employees had directed its members to withdraw banking and insurance services in Kaduna state from Monday 17.

Also, while some schools were closed, others were open but only a few teachers, pupils, and students were seen hanging around. Meanwhile, most of the shops at the busy Sheikh Mahmood Gumi Market, Ibrahim Taiwo and Kano Roads area of the Kaduna Central Market were under lock and key.

Shops were also locked at the popular Kasuwan Bacci Market, Tudun Wada. Also, offices of telecommunication service providers including MTN, Airtel and 9mobile along Yakubu Gowon Way were also shut.

There was also high compliance to the strike action by health facilities in Kaduna as health workers were visibly absent in some of the facilities visited, while others were seen outside in groups discussing the situation.

Patients, including those on admission, had been discharged at General Hospital Sabon Tasha, Yusuf Dantsoho General Hospital, Tudun Wada, and Gwamna Awan General Hospital, Nasarawa, and the hospitals closed. Primary Health Centres in Kakuri, Nassarawa, Unguwan Yelwa, and Sabon Tasha were also closed.

Some of the patients seen outside the hospital appealed to the state government to dialogue with NLC to address grey areas so that patients would be attended to in order to avert preventable deaths.

Meanwhile, the disconnection of power supply to Kaduna state by electricity workers following the strike had disrupted many businesses and caused water scarcity in the state. Some residents said that the blackout had affected their businesses and living condition.

A businessman, Michael John, said that the power outage had crippled his business, adding that petrol stations have equally joined the strike making it difficult to access petrol to power his generator.

A resident simply identified as Malam Ado pointed out that the masses were always at the receiving end of any industrial action.

“As it is now, the elites have alternative power supply while the masses are left in darkness. This is so unfair. I am appealing to the NLC and the Kaduna State government to resolve the issues as soon as possible so that power and other economic activities will be restored,” he said.

Usman Abubakar, another resident said that the power outage had led to water scarcity since on Sunday, adding that most residents had to resort to patronising water vendors.

According to Abubakar, the vendors are selling a 25 litre jerrican at N40 as against the initial price of N20.

Also, a welder, Shehu Lawani, said that his business had been crippled and was forced to close shop following the suspension of the electricity supply. “Government should do the needful and settle with NLC because this strike is unfair to business owners like myself,” he said.

Another trader, Malama Salamatu, who sells sachet water popularly known as “pure water” and soft drinks, also counted her losses, saying her sales had drastically reduced since the power outage with no alternative means of cooling her drinks.

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