El-Rufai Wants To Retrench Workers To Fulfill Loan Condition, Group Alleges

A group, Alliance on Survivors of Covid-19 and Beyond, Sunday, advised Kaduna State governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufa’i to rescind his decision to retrench civil servants in the state or be ready to face the consequences.

They alleged that the governor’s move was in fulfillment of ‘loan condition’ which he wants to obtain.

Acting chairman of the group, Comrade Peter Turaki, in an open letter to the governor, made available to THE WHISTLER, stated that the governor was insensitive to the plight of workers, and called on him to check history to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

According to the letter, “Those in leadership positions now govern with fiat and citizens even help justify their authoritarian acts. Even during the most daring military regimes in Nigeria, we never had it this bad. Worker-retrenchments, though took place, were resisted by labour and the generality of Nigerians. The worst situation we had in Nigeria then was in Kaduna State during the governorship of Col Hameed Ali. Workers disengaged then were not up to half of what you, Nasir el-Rufa’i, has already done! He was harangued that he was not even free in Bauchi, his home state.

“We understand that your major push for this staff-sack is to meet the conditions for an international loan you wish to add to the ones you have already received. We wish to remind you that Gen Babangida wanted loan from the World Bank and the IMF in the 80s and the conditions required rationalisation of courses in universities and therefore retrenchment of staff. There were protests. He stealthily went behind to collect the loan without the mass sack required of the loan.

“But in your case, you announced a massive sack of public servants in your state on the excuse that you were not elected to pay salaries. When these proposals first came to light they were considered to be fake news, but they have now been confirmed as a real threat. The proposals as indicated in an NLC letter are: compulsory retirement of officers that are 50 years old and above; compulsory retirement of offices on Grade Level 14 and above even if they are less than 50 years old; conversion to casual workers of workers on Grade Level 01–06; and the directive that no local government in Kaduna State shall have more than 50 staff strength.”

The group warned that 60% of state civil servants would be affected if Gov El-Rufa’i went ahead to implement the scheme. The letter read, “Based on a survey in 2014, around 35% of Kaduna State’s 25,000 workers were aged over 50, and 15% were on Grade Level 14 and above. Almost a quarter of the staff were on Grade Levels 01–06 and so are now due to be casualised. This suggests that altogether about 60% of state workers will be affected.

“More than 80 staffers of the Jema’a Local Government in Kaduna received their letters of disengagement from the state government on Wednesday, 7th April. There are 23 local governments, so at this rate, not less than 2,000 local government workers in Kaduna State may lose their jobs. Redundancy letters are already being prepared. Around 20,000 teachers were retrenched in 2017 after the state arbitrarily pegged the pass mark for the competency test at an unprecedented 75 per cent compared to 60% agreed with the trade unions. Many of these teachers are yet to receive their redundancy money. In addition, 8,000 state workers and 4,000 local government workers were retrenched by the state in 2017.

“You are now 61. By your own rules, you should have no business in governance. Even for the official serving age of civil servants, you have over-stayed your time. Yet you think that civil servants at the age of 50 have nothing to offer. Clearly, you have no love for the civil service, no love for workers and you are out to destroy them.”

The group added that, “Your government is concerned with attracting the private sector and providing infrastructure like schools and hospitals. The services to be provided in these facilities require civil servants like teachers and nurses. These are the workers you are sacking! With the already high crime rate in Kaduna State, you will be held responsible for any further increase in crimes in the state.”

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