HomeNewsNiger Police, DSS Meet Ahead of Planned Protest

Niger Police, DSS Meet Ahead of Planned Protest

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Niger State Police Command and the Department of State Services (DSS) have held separate meetings with the leaders of the state labor unions over the protests planned for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The meetings were a prelude to the outcome of the Nigeria Labour Congress’ warning strike in the state. Both meetings were held at the respective offices of both agencies in Minna, the state capital with their security chiefs.

The meeting at the police headquarters presided over by the state Commissioner of Police, Shawulu Danmamman, stressed the need for the protest to be peaceful and orderly. The one held at the DSS office was also eventful as the operatives warned the labour leaders against the protest taking place at all.

The DSS warned the labour leaders that they would be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the course of the protest.

According to a source close to the participants at the meeting, the police promised to provide adequate security to the protesters.

The Strike and the Demands

The state Chairman of the NLC, Idrees Lafene, confirmed in a telephone interview with PUNCH Online that the meeting took place. “We are just coming from the meeting with the police and the DSS. The police promised to give us protection during the protest.

“We are going ahead with the protest, everything is set,” Lafene declared before disclosing that the protest will commence from the Labour House to the state House of Assembly and back.

Lafene charged workers pro-democracy activists and members of civil society organisations to turn out in numbers for the protest.

The labour unions in the state had embarked on a three-day warning strike last week to press home their demands for the payment of the new minimum wage and other entitlements. The strike was suspended on Friday after the state government agreed to meet some of the demands of the workers.

However, the labour unions said they would resume the strike on Tuesday if the government failed to implement the agreement reached with them.

The Government’s Response

The state government, through the Head of Service, Salamatu Abubakar, had appealed to the workers to shelve the planned protest, saying it would disrupt the peace and security of the state.

Abubakar said the government was committed to fulfilling its part of the agreement and urged the workers to exercise patience and understanding.

She also said the government had set up a committee to look into the issues of the local government workers and teachers, who were also part of the strike.

She assured the workers that the government would not renege on its promise to pay the new minimum wage and other benefits as soon as the state’s finances improved.

A Ray of Hope

Despite the tension and uncertainty, some residents of the state expressed hope that the protest would be peaceful and that the government and the labour unions would reach a lasting solution to the impasse.

They also called on both parties to dialogue and respect the rights and interests of the people of the state. One of them, Musa Abdullahi, a trader, said he hoped the protest would not affect his business and that of other small-scale entrepreneurs.

He said he supported the workers’ demands but also appealed to them to consider the economic situation of the country and the state.

Another resident, Aisha Bello, a teacher, said she hoped the protest would not turn violent and that the security agencies would protect the lives and properties of the people.

She said she was optimistic that the government would pay the new minimum wage and other allowances as agreed with the labour unions.

She also urged the labour leaders to be sincere and transparent in their dealings with the government and the workers.

Source: Punch

 

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