The NLC has urged the Federal Government to use the stick and carrot approach in handling the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IML) and protest by its members.
The NLC National President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, in a statement on Wednesday said that doing that was “no sign of weakness.’’
Waba expressed sadness over the destruction of both private and public property, injuries and deaths arising from confrontation between the police and members of the movement otherwise known as `Shi’ite.’
News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the movement have been protesting the prolonged detention of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky; and his wife, Zeenah.
Both El-Zakzaky and wife have been in custody since 2015.
Wabba noted that the bloody conflict on Monday would not be the first or second or even third by members of the sect.
“While we support government’s right and duty to maintain law and order, we equally urge it to do so with the benefit of its previous experiences in dealing with sects.
“We call upon the government with every sense of responsibility and concern for our national security, to deal imaginatively with the issue of El-Zak-Zaky whom it has kept in detention in defiance of a court order to release him from detention.
“We expect the government to be firm but flexible, use the stick and carrot approach. It is no sign of weakness.”
The labour leader, while urging leadership and members of the sect to eschew violence, stressed that they should be guided at all times by fundamental principles and practices of peaceful protest.
He said the exercise of the right to protest which the organised labour has routinely exercised in spite of occasional objections had helped in strengthening democracy in no small way.
“In the years of those protests, it was guided by discipline (even in the face of provocation) and principles of peaceful engagement.’’
Waba urged security forces to be guided by the rules of engagement, saying that it was reprehensible and completely objectionable to turn against peacefully- protesting people.
NAN recalls that the Presidency had said the case involving the leader of the Shiites, Ibrahim El Zakzaky, is no longer in the hands of the Federal Government.
“As far as this country’s Ministry of Justice is concerned, the case involving El-Zakzaky is no longer in its domain,” President Muhammadu Buhari spokesman, Garba Shehu said in a statement.
“The Federal Government no more has hands in the matter and to that extent, the government at the centre can be said to be clear of any alleged violations of court orders as being trumpeted everyday,” he added.
El-Zakzaky was charged with murder in April 2018. His alleged offence took place during the December 2015 clash between the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and a convoy of Nigeria’s army chief, Tukur Buratai.