The National Leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Tuesday criticised the actions of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai in the ongoing labour dispute in the state.
In a statement signed by the group’s National President, Williams Akporeha and General Secretary, Afolabi Olawale, NUPENG described El-Rufai’s government as “dictatorial and despotic”.
The Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have embarked on a five-day warning strike and protests in the state over the sack of over 7,000 government workers.
The Kaduna state government has insisted that it does not have the financial wherewithal to pay the relieved workers.
On Tuesday, the state government declared labour union leaders wanted in the state for economic sabotage, saying the industrial action had affected key state infrastructure and services, including health and power.
Labour union leaders have accused the state government of actions tantamount to ‘abuse of powers’, including disrupting a peaceful protest with thugs.
NUPENG, in its statement, said it was “deeply saddened” with the turn of events in Kaduna.
“The Leadership of the Union is therefore calling on the Federal Government to immediately call on Kaduna State Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to order before his arrogance and power-drunk ego further push the situation into horrendous calamity as he has been doing in all issues relating to human lives and wellbeing,” the statement said.
“Consequently, the Union reiterates that no Labour Leaders or workers as the case may be, be harmed, harassed, maimed, humiliated or victimized during this 5-day peaceful protests in the State.
“Our Union is raising this alarm following the very reliable report of the clandestine move of Governor Nasir El-RUfai to hurt and put the lives of NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and other Labour Leaders to danger in his usual blind egotistical style of running government in the State
“NUPENG, therefore, warns that if any harm is inflicted on any of the members of organized Labour, the Leadership of the Union will not hesitate to call on all our members throughout the nation for a total shut down of all our services in the upstream, mid-stream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.
“In the light of the above, we are therefore putting all NUPENG members nationwide on red alert and may at very short notice of five hours call for a nationwide industrial action if the situation arises
“Our solidarity remains constant for the Union makes us strong.”