Kaduna residents are stocking food and other essential items ahead of the workers’ strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to begin on Monday.
Residents said they fear the strike may result in shops and markets not opening.
Already, the electricity distribution company has cut off supply to the Kaduna metropolis.
PREMIUM TIMES observed that many businesses were running generators for supply of electricity Sunday evening.
“For us it has begun. Supply of electricity was cut off yesterday night. This is a serious problem.” Yusuf, an electric appliances seller in the state capital, said.
Sanusi, a shop owner in the city, said, “Residents have been coming to buy basic food Items since early morning. Look at it, no bread and we are not getting supply. Bakeries are not producing. This is a big problem we are getting into.”
Mardiyya Saleh, a resident of Kawo Kaduna, told PREMIUM TIMES that the strike will hit hard on citizens of the state.
“The sallah celebration is just ending and there are lots of food Items, including meat that are in the refrigerators. Without electricity now, everything will spoil, you can imagine.
“My appeal is for the state government and the labour unions to settle their differences and the strike be aborted,” Mr Saleh said.
Meanwhile, despite many worrying about the hardship it portends for citizens, some residents said they support the strike.
Abubakar Sani, a civil servant, said, he supports the NLC for the planned strike.
“We are going to suffer, but it will not be as bad as getting sacked from your job just like that. The government is not sincere in its planned retrenchment exercise.
” NLC is doing the right thing. No Kaduna worker is happy with what the state government is doing. You cannot be sacking people just because you want to build roads, as the governor is insisting.
“What you are able to get and build the road, use it and we will thank you, but laying off workers is not the solution.”
Many other civil servants, who spoke to our reporter, also said they welcome the planned strike action.
The Kaduna state government had in March sacked thousands of local government workers.
The NLC had called on all unions to join in the planned five-day warning strike in Kaduna from Monday.
The union wants to force the state government to cancel its plan for mass sack of civil servants.
Going by letters seen by PREMIUM TIMES in which organisations, including banks and other financial institutions, have pledged to comply with the NLC directive, offices will not open for work from Monday.
No going back – El-Rufai
However, the state government has vowed to implement its decision to rightsize the public service and not subject public policy to a mob’s veto.
The Commissioner for Local Government, Jafaru Sani, and Head of Service, Bariatu Y. Mohammed, stated the government’s position during a press conference on Saturday.
According to them, the government regards the strike action and shutdown threats as futile gestures that will not stop it from taking the painful but necessary actions to cope with the fiscal crisis.
ALSO READ: Kaduna warns against strike, violence; says no going back on rightsizing of public service
They said the Kaduna State Government believes that “the welfare of public servants is sustainable only within the larger context of the general welfare of residents of the state that the government itself is mandated to serve.
“Thus, it is not sustainable to persist in spending 84% to 96% of its FAAC receipts on salaries and personnel costs as has been the experience of the state since October 2020.”
The administration said it will protect its facilities and workers’ right to access and exit their offices.
( Pictures – Some letters of Compliance by various organisation)
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