The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday advised the Federal Government to adopt diplomacy in dealing with continued protest of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria to avoid further loss of properties and lives.
Recall that Shiites clashed with the Police in Abuja on Monday and Tuesday, leaving several persons, including a Deputy Commissioner of Police, and a journalist dead.
In a statement issued in Abuja, on Wednesday, President of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the use of carrot- and- stick approach to deal with the current situation is not a sign of weakness.
While lamenting the clash and resultant casualties, Wabba asked members of the sect to be guided by the principles of peaceful protest, while also asking security forces to be civil in dealing with the situation and not turn their gun on the protesters.
The statement reads: “We at the Nigeria Labour Congress are deeply saddened by the destruction of both private and public property, injuries and deaths that resulted from the confrontation between the police and members of the Shi’ite during the protest by the latter to press for the release of their leader from detention. These are highly regrettable and even avoidable.
“The bloody conflict would not be the first or second or even third that would be resulting from protests by members of the sect on the same matter that ended up in a stand-off with security forces. Neither would it be the last.
“However, it represented a determination of the members of the Shi’ite sect to press on with their demand and the sickening escalation of violence.
“It is also a painful manifestation of the fact that in the continued confrontation between the Shi’ite sect and security forces, either party is susceptible to casualty.
“The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed by the 1999 constitution (as amended) and that right cannot be abridged by any body. The exercise of this right which the organized labour has routinely exercised in spite of occasional objections has helped in strengthening our democracy in no small way. In fact, at the risk of sounding immodest, we at Labour have become the symbol of popular street protest in Nigeria.
“Congress, from years of peaceful protests has covered some mileage for its members and generality of Nigerians. In the years of those protests, it was guided by discipline (even in the face of provocation) and principles of peaceful engagement.
“We therefore urge the leadership and members of the Shi’ite sect to not only eschew violence, but be guided at all times by those fundamental principles/rules and practices of peaceful protest.
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