Expresses optimism on resolution of JUSUN strike Thursday
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA- THE Federal government yesterday waded into the national strike and picketing in Kaduna State by the two Labour Centres, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige appealed to the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasiru el Rufai, the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba as well as President of TUC, Comrade Rasheed Olawale to immediately cease fire.
The Minister in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the Ministry , Charles Akpan, said, “We are not unaware of what is going on in Kaduna State . It is a labour issue which has snowballed into a national strike and picketing by the two labour centres and affiliate unions .
“We hope and also pray the Kaduna state Governor not to escalate matters to such a level where it becomes uncontrollable. We also appeal the to the leaders of the labour centres to step down action to make way for discussion .
“My Ministry is wading into the matter and therefore calls on the two warring parties to give peace a chance .
The Minister also appealed to all workers on essential duties including doctors and nurses not to join the strike.
“Importantly, I appeal to workers in critical sectors not to tamper with electrical or water installations so as not to bring more sufferings to the people of Kaduna and the nation at large.
“This is because we have it on good authority, following a complaints by the Minster of Power that workers have threatened to trigger a nation-wide blackout by interfering or switching off the national grid.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government said it was confident that a week-long fruitful consultations with all the critical stakeholders will end the debilitating strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) and the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria when conciliation resumes Thursday.
Addressing the press on the issue in Abuja, Senator Ngige said he has together with the Secretary of the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Autonomy of the Judiciary and State legislature, Senator Ita Enang, held consummate consultations with all stakeholders, including the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi, Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, officials from the Governors Forum Secretariat, Chairman of Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly as well as the Administrative Secretary of the Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly.
He said, “Today (yesterday), we have deepened the discussion with a meeting with the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President of the Court of Appeal and other judges who are heads of courts – President of the Federal High Court, President of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria and we looked at the positions canvassed by each of the components -judiciary, legislature and the Governors Forum.
“At the moment, we have distilled on a holistic basis, what this Ministry regards as a conciliatory cocktail position – a mix of ideas from all sides, of constitutional positions, and even part of Presidential Executive Order No. 10.
“We have come out with a position and given same to all sides as proposals to study and come back. It contains the positions which each group proposed and which in our joint committee, in our wisdom, we felt was necessary to make for the independence- fund wise of the state judiciary and legislature without breaching the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .
“We have done something that will make the state legislature, judiciary and even the NJC operate optimally.
“We have agreed to reconvene for all sides to cross the t’s and dot the i’s on this MoU we have drawn up. We are very hopeful the two unions will call off their strike so we can have industrial peace in the states, open our courts and the state assemblies so that even the state laws contained in the MoU will be enacted as soon as possible, within the 48 days execution period allowed the states to formalise it.”