From Magnus Eze, Abuja
London-based International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding immediate independent inquiry by a judicial panel into the recent murder of a trade union leader in Kogi state.
Expressing concern over the gruesome murder of the Chairman of the Kogi State branch of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (NASU) at the Science and Technology Education Board (STEB), Mallam Abdulmumini Yakubu and his visitor, Mallam Ibrahim Otaru, by yet to be identified assailants, ICTURnoted the gravity of the situation, and reminded the Government of its obligations under the International Labour Organisation’s fundamental Conventions, which Nigeria had ratified.
Concerning the right to life, security and the physical and moral integrity of the person, ICTUR Director, Daniel Blackburn stated that the ILO’s Committee on Freedom of Association had declared that an independent judicial inquiry should be instituted immediately to investigate assaults on the physical or moral integrity of individuals, in order to determine responsibility, punish those responsible and prevent repetition.
According to Blackburn, “The killing of trade unionists requires the “institution of independent judicial inquiries in order to shed full light, at the earliest date, on the facts and the circumstances in which such actions occurred and in this way, to theextent possible, determine where responsibilities lie, punish the guilty parties and prevent the repetition of similar events.” Failure to hold guilty parties to account creates a culture of impunity, “which reinforces the climate of violence and insecurity, and which is extremely damaging to the exercise of trade union rights” (ILO Digest, paras. 42-44, 46, 48 and 52).”
ICTUR therefore urged Government to ensure that full and proper procedures were applied, and that the guilty parties were identified and brought to justice, adding that it will report the case in the journal International Union Rights, which enjoys readership in more than 100 countries.
The letter was copied to the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,
General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Peter Ozo-Eson and General Secretary, Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA), John Odah.