El-Rufai lacks power to declare Labour leaders wanted — Falana

Human Rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, on Tuesday, lambasted Kaduna State Governor, Mal. Nasir El-Rufai, for declaring President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba and other union leaders wanted.

NLC had on Monday embarked on a massive protest and strike to press home their demand bordering on mass sack of workers in the state. The strike has paralysed critical sectors of the economy in the state.

El-Rufai declared Wabba and other labour leaders wanted for leading the protest and crippling economic activities in the state.

‘Hired’ thugs were also reported to have attacked the peaceful protesters during the demonstration.

But Falana in his reaction to El-Rufai’s declaration, in a statement, said claim that the labour leaders contravened the provisions of the Miscellaneous Offences Act was ‘laughable.’

His statement read, “The statement is laughable as it is common knowledge that Comrade Wabba and his colleagues are on the streets of Kaduna leading the peaceful protests embarked upon by the entire workers in the State since yesterday. The order of the Governor cannot be enforced for the following reasons:

“By the combined effect of the Trade Union Act and the Nigerian Constitution, Comrade Wabba and other labour leaders have the unquestionable rights to participate in the peaceful warning strike and mass protests against further retrenchment of workers in the Kaduna State public service.

“The Miscellaneous Offences Act is not a state statute but a federal enactment. To that extent, if Governor El Rufai has evidence that Comrade Wabba and other labour leaders have contravened any provisions of the Act he is required to lodge a complaint in any of the police stations in Kaduna State.

“The Governor lacks the power to declare any alleged offender wanted under the Act or any other law whatsoever.”

He, however, called on the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to ignore El-Rufai’s statement.

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