No fewer than 100 hoodlums loyal to the Kaduna State government and Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Wednesday invaded the venue where the Nigeria Labour Congress and its members were to continue their peaceful march and agitation.
SaharaReporters learnt that the police arrested 20 of the hoodlums, who reportedly invaded the NLC gathering ground as early as 5am.
A source explained that the state government which was desperate to silence the protesting workers and their union might have mobilised the hoodlums as they attempted to hurl stones and other pebbles at the workers.
“As early as 5am, El-Rufai’s armed thugs numbering about 100 occupied the meeting point of protesters. The attention of the police was drawn to it and a detachment of police officers led by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Operations, was been able to arrest about 20 of the armed thugs. The protests continued today. But in spite of all intimidation, no retreat, no surrender,” a source said.
“We call for more support by trade unions and civil society organisations, nationally and internationally. Strike actions and mass protests to protect jobs and pay are the most important ways to curb poverty, insecurity and inequality,” one of the workers’ leaders added.
“Where the Kaduna State government remains irresponsive to the strikers’ demands, we further call on labour to consider a nationwide action against increases in fuel price, electricity tariffs, non-payment of legislated National minimum wage, part payment of wages, and so on.”
The state governor, El-Rufai, had declared the NLC National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba and other leaders of the union wanted over the strike action embarked upon by workers in the state.
The governor in a tweet said the labour union leaders were declared wanted for “economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act”.
The NLC in the state had embarked on strike to protest against mass disengagement of workers and other alleged anti-labour actions by the government.
Also on Tuesday, hoodlums reportedly loyal to the governor disrupted the peaceful protest embarked upon by the workers.