The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says that the government must hold accountable those that are responsible for the cold-blooded murder of four students of Nasarawa State University at the weekend. “Those who invited the soldiers, those who carried out these killings and those under whose watch the killings were carried out should be held accountable,” it said in a statement signed by its President, Abdulwahed I. Omar.
“The government should fish them out immediately and prosecute them in line with the laws of the land.” The NLC stressed that unless this is done expeditiously, the government would have succeeded in sending out the clear message that when it comes to terror, there is no difference between the State and terrorists. It described the brutal and murderous tactics by soldiers as a throw-back to the past Nigeria would be better off without. “The right to dissent or protest is a constitutional right and not a privilege to be given by any god-head.
What the students were doing therefore was in the exercise of that right from which not only them would benefit. If however, it was the considered opinion of the law enforcement agents that the students had crossed the red line in the exercise of that right, the professional and proper thing was to have been guided by the rules of engagement and not to have engaged in a senseless slaughter.” The NLC pointed out that it is bad enough that our utilities on which huge sums of money are spent do not work.
“To kill those who insist that they work, which in our view, is ensuring accountability, is double jeopardy,” the statement said, stressing that no amount of cruelty or mindless violence visited on the weak and the defenseless will stop protests in the country. “Our students were part of the struggle that restored democracy in our land, and should not be treated as irritants who do not know the difference between right and wrong.”
It said the crude impunity and descent into the abyss should be arrested for the sake of all, as violence breeds violence, particularly in societies where the state no longer has monopoly of weapons of destruction. The NLC urged that the nation must move from the resort to quick-fix approaches to something much more durable and reasonable, and re-discover its values and inspire its younger generation instead of the orgy of violence that could ultimately consume it.
Cautioning school authorities, the statement said that even in the event of an inevitable situation necessitating externalization, only law enforcement agents with the needed temperament, education and training relevant to students’ psychology should be deployed to campuses. “Above all this, they should be thoroughly versed in the art of internal security maintenance and rules of engagement,” it noted.