NHRC Asks NLC to Suspend Nassarawa Rally, Urges State Govt to Shelve Plan to Cut Workers' Salaries
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued an advisory calling on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend its plan to protest the killing of some Nassarawa State workers by police in the course of meeting with the Governor of Nassarawa State, Tanko Almakura.
The commission, in the advisory, also called on the Nassarawa State Government to suspend forthwith the implementation of the reduction in the workers' salary pending the completion of the investigation of the complaints already submitted to the commission.
NHRC said it issued the advisory in line with the responsibilities conferred on it under Section 5(o) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, 1995 (as amended), which empowers the commission to “on its own initiative…. report on actions that should be taken by the Federal, State or Local Government to comply with the provisions of any relevant international human rights instruments.”
The commission said it received a complaint dated August 3rd from the office of the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress alleging shooting and killing of some Nassarawa State workers by police in the course of meeting with the Governor of Nassarawa State.
It also said that investigation into the complaint was on going and advised both the NLC and the Nassarawa State Government to maintain the status quo pending the completion of the investigation.
The commission said it had come to its notice that NLC planned to hold a rally in Lafia, the Nasarawa State Capital and other places to protest against the Nassarawa Stae Government on the 23rd August, 2016.
Although, the commission admitted that the right to assemble freely and to protest or demonstrate peacefully was a human right guaranteed by Sections 39-40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 and Articles 9-11 of the African charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which is domestic law in Nigeria, it nevertheless asked NLC to suspend the rally.
"Whereas there is need to forestall a recurrence of such incident during the planned rally which, though well within the right of the organized labour (and indeed any other citizen at that) to hold or participate in, could still go awry when members of the congress participating in the rally becomes uncontrollable, or are infiltrated by other elements with ulterior motives;
"The commission in a considered opinion in line with Sections 6 (1)(a) of the NHRC Act (as amended) and rules 67(1)&(2) of the Standing Orders and Rules of Procedure (STORP) of the Commission do hereby issue the following interim measures as compliance advisory:
"All parties to the complaint before the commission are hereby strongly advised to maintain peace and order pending the final determination of the investigation of the complaint.
"NLC and its affiliates are hereby strongly advised to refrain from embarking on the planned or any protest in connection with this complaint either in Nassarawa State or do any such act that will jeopardize or has the potentials of affecting the protection of parties, victims, evidence, witnesses or any participants in the complaint process or the outcome of the investigation.
"The Government of Nassarawa State is to suspend forthwith the implementation of the reduction in the worker’s salary pending the completion of the investigation of the complaints
"All parties to this complaint as well as the law enforcement and security agencies are to ensure full compliance of this interim Measure pending the full investigation and determination of this complaint."