One killed, many injured as police open fire on protesting Nasarawa workers

THERE was pandemonium in Lafia, the capital of Nasarawa State on Friday as men of the Nigeria Police killed one protesting worker, while several others  were injured.

The police allegedly opened fire on the protesting workers during the visit of the Ayuba Waba-led Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the state.

The NLC national leadership’s visit followed the lingering strike embarked upon by the state chapter of the NLC over the 50 per cent salary cut by the government.

Speaking to newsmen after the incident, the NLC national president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the police shot three protesting workers at the gate of the Government House, while officials of the union were holding a dialogue  with Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura.

He said:  “It is unfortunate that the police commissioner was lying to us that nothing happened while our men were being shot.

“ The workers in the state have a right to protest the reduction in their salary and no law enforcement agency has the right to shoot them.”

He said that the action of the police and the state government was against the rules of engagement which guarantees the right of workers.

He called on the police authorities to fish out the perpetrators of the act.

Reacting to the incident, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Abubakar Sadiq Bello, who had earlier denied the story  said he had instructed his men to investigate the matter.

He said he was inside the Government House when the incident happened and could not give a proper account of what happened until he is properly briefed.

Investigation by Saturday Tribune revealed that trouble started when the General Manager of the Nasarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS), Yusulf Musa, who was trying to gain access into the Government House ran over a police officer with his vehicle which got some protesting workers angry and pelted his vehicle with stones.

Musa had been having a frosty relationship with workers in the state, due to his perceived ‘ partisanship’ in the coverage of labour issues by the station.

This, it was gathered, led the police to shoot sporadically to disperse the protesters from the Government House premises.