The Nigeria Labour Congress,NLC has described Plateau State Governor David Jonah Jang as “Dangerous to Democracy” in what is evidently a mark of the deepening rift between labour and the workers in the state.A statement today by Chris Uyo,acting general secretary chronicled how “Plateau State Government has decided to inflict violence on the citizens through the use of thugs and members of the Special Task Force (STF) who have been attacking workers across the state. Specifically, some STF personnel picked some workers at Mangu Local Government yesterday morning and subjected them to severe torture to a state of coma, while another set of unemployed youths instigated by Jonah Jang invaded the Workers Freedom Square at the State Government Secretariat where workers usually converged to meet with their leaders”.
“We are disturbed at the turn of events in Plateau State as the striking workers continue to conduct themselves in peace despite the obvious determination of the state government to enthrone violence across the state as evident in the arrest and violent attack on labour leaders in Langtang South Local Government area of the state two days ago, by soldiers ordered by the Chairman of the Local Government with apparent instructions from the State Governor, David Jonah Jang. This had provoked the entire community to react in support of the labour leaders who were arrested at about midnight”Uyot said.
He added, “We assure all residents of the state of our determination to ensure that the rights of workers are protected peacefully until the state government accepts the reality that there are no options left for them than to implement the new minimum wage in full.
The acting secretary general of NLC said “Rather than accept this reality, the Plateau State Government has decided to inflict violence on the citizens through the use of thugs and members of the Special Task Force (STF) who have been attacking workers across the state. Specifically, some STF personnel picked some workers at Mangu Local Government yesterday morning and subjected them to severe torture to a state of coma, while another set of unemployed youths instigated by Jonah Jang invaded the Workers Freedom Square at the State Government Secretariat where workers usually converged to meet with their leaders.”
He accused Jang of having military hangover“It has become obvious that Jonah Jang, a former soldier, has not removed his military toga as he is clearly not interested in ending the crises but decided to organize soldiers and violent youths to attack workers who are demanding for the implementation of an agreement he had with the workers.”
The NLC said it is insisting on the full implementation of the minimum wage in Plateau State and the payment of all salaries and allowances owed Local Government workers for six months.
Therefore the apex labour congress called on the workers to continue to exercise their right and ensure the sustenance of their peaceful actions despite the provocation of the Governor and his cohorts.
NLC also noted that Jang has mischievously ignored all attempts at resolving the dispute, including the intervention of the Plateau State House of Assembly ostensibly that his so called political enemies incited the workers to embark on strike. No worker anywhere in the world needs to be incited to demand for his rights to livelihood and survival as mischievously alleged by Jang, and his fair weather minions,NLC said ,adding that Plateau State is the only state where a strike on the implementation of the new minimum wage has taken as long as six months and it shows clearly that the state government has no intention to foster industrial peace and harmony, but turn Plateau State into a battle field.
“For a governor to throw all attempts at dialogue to the wind, even jettisoning the intervention of the state legislators and respected elders in the state to continue to starve workers and their families for six months without pay, is the height of callousness and impunity ever witnessed in a democracy”,Uyot said,concluding that “It is apparent that Jonah Jang lacks the vision of a responsible leader who should be interested in the peace and progress of the entire state and her citizens. He has exposed himself as one of those eager to truncate the growth of democracy in Nigeria and he needs to be called to order before Plateau State is engulfed in violent crisis and made ungovernable.”