By Williams Anuku Abuja
The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has dared Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State to unleash violence on workers during a planned protest, scheduled for Tuesday, September 8 in Port Harcourt.
Ayuba Wabba, President of the NLC sounded the note of warning in a statement on Sunday, in Abuja, insisting that the Congress had credible information that the governor was mobilising thugs to attack workers during the protest.
It would be recalled that the NLC, the Trade Union Congress and the Rivers State Government have been having a face-off over allegations of sponsorship of violence against workers in the state.
On August 27, 2020, Wike was alleged to have sent thugs to disrupt the State Executive Council meeting of the Rivers State Council of the NLC.
Wabba said, “We have received very credible information that the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike has mobilized two local governments councils around Port Harcourt metropolis to engage armed thugs who would be used to unleash violence on workers during our protest scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 2020 in Port Harcourt.
“If Mr. Nyesom Wike goes through with his diabolical plans, it would not be the first. Nigerians would recall that on the 27th of August 2020, the State Executive Council meeting of the Rivers State Council of the NLC was violently disrupted by hundreds of thugs who openly boasted that they were sent by Governor Nyesom Wike to disrupt the meeting. Nigerians would also recall that earlier on the night of July 27, 2020 some armed hoodlums ransacked the sealed Secretariat of the NLC and vandalized equipment and installation worth millions of naira..
“Up till now, no single arrest has been made on that incident. Till date, workers are still looking for the kidnapped JUSUN Chairman in Rivers State.
“We wish to reiterate that any attempt to disrupt our rally come Tuesday September 8, 2020 would not only be another frontal attack against the Nigerian Constitution by Governor Wike but would also be a continuation of Governor Nyesom Wike’s reign of impunity and ill-conceived ploy to exterminate Organized Labour in Rivers State.
“The right to peaceful assembly and protest is not just a Constitutional Right as provided for and guaranteed by Section 40 of Nigeria’s Constitution but is also a fundamental Universal Human Rights protected by international treaties signed up to by Nigeria.
“We wish to send a final warning to Mr. Nyesom Wike that in the event that any harm comes to any worker on September 8, 2020, Nigerian workers and the international labour community would hold him personally to account, after all, he remains the Chief Security Officer of Rivers State.
“Instead of wasting the state resources in the prosecution of a needless war against innocent workers, we urge Governor Nyesom Wike to commit his time and the state resources to attend to the industrial concerns of the workers in Rivers State”.