The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has backed the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in its ongoing scuffle with the Kaduna State government.
Recall that this paper had reported the labour union commenced on a 5-day warning strike on Monday to protest the disengagement of thousands of workers in Kaduna State. They have grounded activities in the state as a result of the protest.
The state government has however insisted on not retracing the decision, citing the initial fiscal reasons it gave as reason.
Amid a series of harsh response to the dismay of many, the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai described the protest as unlawful, declared the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba wanted and sacked more workers
On Tuesday, the protest turned violent as armed thugs attacked the workers who had converged at the popular NEPA roundabout in the Kaduna capital city, throwing stones at them.
Wading in on the situation in a press statement published on Wednesday by its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, CNG warned the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai against abusing the right of the NLC members and workers in the state.
The statement titled ‘CNG lauds NLC, also warned El-Rufai against escalating tensions with unguarded utterances and action.
It faulted what it called the growing practice of deploying non-state actors against peaceful processions by some political leaders in the state and commended the police for “refusing to compromise professionalism when state-sponsored thugs unleashed violence on workers who were merely protesting impunity”.
“We are watching events as they unfold and for the avoidance of doubt, if the governor insists on pursuing the path of brigandage to suppress the ongoing civil action by workers, he would certainly be called to account for any unforeseen eventuality.
“While we restate our total support for the ongoing action by the courageous leaders of the organised labour and stand firmly in solidarity with the Kaduna State workers who have subjected to suppressive and inhumane policies of Elrufai,” Suleiman said.
He said the CNG would leave no stone unturned in pushing for thorough investigation and prosecution of the political leaders or government officials behind the practice of deploying armed violent thugs on peaceful assemblies in the state which is fast becoming the new normal.
“We recall that the CNG had once suffered similar state sponsored attack by armed gangs that disrupted its meeting on security at Arewa House. We find it unacceptable that armed thugs in their hundreds would storm the streets of a state capital, unleash violence on peaceful assemblies and vanish into the thin air,” he added.