Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, says the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) strike in his state was sponsored to fight his administration.
Members of the labour union had on Monday embarked on a five-day warning strike over the decision of the state government to disengage 4,000 workers.
The Kaduna government had said the decision was taken because the huge wage bill wasn’t sustainable.
The strike was however called off on Wednesday following a request for negotiations by the federal government.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), el-Rufai stated that Kaduna was targeted for political reasons.
“We will fight this. we are breaking them and they will leave town ashamed. I will not give them one inch because this is not about unionism,” he said.
“If it is about rights of workers Kaduna is not the only state that has retrenched workers, Kaduna is not a state owing salaries, Kaduna is not a state failing to pay minimum wage, Kaduna is not a state owing years of pension arrears, why didn’t they go there? Kaduna was targeted for political reasons, and they are being financed by certain political interests.
“But we will fight them, we will defeat them but as the governor of Bayelsa said, and since he has brought that subject, I have a responsibility to put it through, unless we collectively address this monster, it will consume all of us.
“After this, they will never come back to Kaduna, they will never come back, you will see. They will go to other states it’s up to the forum to decide on what to do, but we are here, we are ready, we will end this by the grace of God.”
The governor also criticised the NGF for issuing a press release in which they urged the union to exercise calm and restraint in its engagement with the state government.
“That press release with the greatest respect was unhelpful. It was unhelpful, it said nothing it was trying to play both sides,” he said.
“I am a governor, I am one of you, the least I expect from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum is unequivocal and unqualified support I didn’t see that in that statement. I am being very blunt; I could pretend and be political and just smile and say it was alright but it is not. But I am used to fighting my own battles.
“We are not running a unitary system (of government), we are a federation. We are elected to govern different states, we owe our people accountability not the NLC, we should take a common stand.”