By Mukwuzi Joseph
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has vowed that his administration would not honour a meeting with the Nigeria Labour Congress unless electricity is restored in his state.
The governor also lambasted the federal government for allowing workers of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) owned by it to disrupt electricity supply to his state.
Mr El-Rufai made the comment after the NLC announced a suspension of a five-day warning strike called to protest the Kaduna government’s plans to lay off some of its civil servants due to what it blamed on a severe fiscal crisis.
The NLC suspended the industrial action after the intervention of the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, who requested parties to sheathe swords for a federal government-mediated negotiation to hold in Abuja.
But shortly after the NLC announced it was suspending the strike to enable it to honour the planned Abuja meeting, a defiant Mr El-Rufai issued a statement that said no official of his government would negotiate with the unions unless electricity is restored in the state.
The National Union of Electricity Employees is an affiliate of the NLC and its members had on Sunday switched off electricity supply in the state and joined the strike.
In his statement early Thursday morning, Mr El-Rufai said, “No official of Kaduna State will go to Abuja for any meeting with FGN (Federal Government of Nigeria) or NLC when the citizens of the State have no electricity.”
“We hold the FGN responsible for (its) inability to assert its ownership rights over TCN (Transmission Company of Nigeria). No electricity, no meeting.”
Hours before his latest update, the state government had said it was yet to see evidence “that the NLC is backing off from its campaign of economic and social sabotage against the people of the State.”
“Electric power is yet to be restored after it was shut down at dawn on Sunday, 16th May 2021, in brazen violation of the laws protecting essential services and infrastructure,” Muyiwa Adekeye, the spokesperson to Mr El-Rufai, had said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES at 9:21 pm on Wednesday.