NHRC Asks NLC to Suspend Nasarawa Rally

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Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued an advisory calling the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend its planned to protest the shooting and killing of some Nasarawa State workers by police in the course of meeting with the Governor of Nasarawa State.

The commission, in the advisory also called on the Nasarawa 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 its responsibilities conferred on it under Section 5(o) of the NHRC 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 3 from the office of the president of the NLC alleging shooting and killing of some Nasarawa State workers by police in the course of meeting with the Governor of Nasarawa State.

It also said investigation into the complaint was on going and advised both the NLC and the Nasarawa 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 Nasarawa State Government on the August 23, 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 1999 Constitution 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.

It said: “Whereas there is need to forestall a recurrence of such incident during the planned rally which, though well within the right of the organised 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 Nasarawa State or do any such act that will jeopardise 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 Nasarawa 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.”