LOKOJA—Organised labour in Kogi State yesterday accused the state government of resorting to unethical means including propaganda, cheap blackmail and recruiting faceless group to break ongoing strike in the state.
Yahaya-Bello Leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC in the state decried perceived government’s new twist of recruiting strike busters within the workforce to stampede members to back out of the strike that began penultimate Monday. However, Governor Yahaya Bello in a swift reaction through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Abdulkareem Abdulmalik, said labour leaders were insincere because they had been wining, dinning and praising the governor in the ‘night’ while castigating him in ‘day’ time.
In a joint statement by NLC and TUC Secretaries, Olakunle Faniyi and James Kolawole respectively; they urged workers not to be swayed by government propaganda, claiming that efforts to paint the labour leaders in bad light would not stand the test of time because labour was working with solid reasons and evidence. According to the statement: “The union is calling on workers to disregard all propaganda and any other forms of intimidation by the government in the face of the industrial action, which was the last option available to the union after exhausting all avenues to avert strike action. ”Labour describes as unfortunate the use of faceless organisations and bodies by the state Government to embark on fruitless mission to break the ongoing industrial action.
”The overwhelming issues on ground are too obvious to be swept away by the gimmicks to twist facts. Labour and the workforce in the state are convinced that the government has no regard for the civil service as shown by its policies and programmes. The government has been wasteful in the midst of scarce resources when prudence should have taken center stage.” The statement also lamented that the government had refused to pay both state and council workers even when it had received the first tranche of the bailout fund, saying “Labour will ensure that all anti-workers policies of the Kogi State Government would fail.” Leaders of NLC and TUC lauded workers in the state for their steadfastness faith in the leadership of labour, adding that their compliance to the strike directive was encouraging and appealed to traditional rulers, religious leaders and other stakeholders in the state to mediate in their face off with the state government to resolve the lingering industrial crises.
Reacting, the governor’s aide (Abdulmalik), said the payment of workers salary was ongoing and asked the labour to prove evidence of its allegation of reckless spending, noting that “Labour is not specific, theirs is just wild allegation. “On the strike embarked upon, the Labour did not follow due process in directing it’s members, the strike was a failure as genuine workers ignored it. Workers should be ashamed of the kind of leadership they have.”