A civil rights group under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Rights Group of Nigeria has condemned the shooting and wounding of a soldier attached to Operation Safe Haven, a military outfit in Plateau State by aggrieved Plateau local government workers protesting nonimplementation of minimum wage at the local level in the state.
The rights advocacy group said the resort to violence by some of the protesters, resulting in the shooting of the soldier at the state secretariat, was against the spirit of the protest.
The national coordinator of the coalition and the secretary, Dr. Arin Izan and, Mrs Esther Pam in a statement said it condemned in strong terms the shooting and wounding of the soldier, an Army Lance Corporal by the protesters.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the shooting and wounding of an Army Lance Corporal attached to Operation Safe Haven by the protesting staff of local government councils in Plateau State at the state secretariat today Monday, January 4, 2021.
“This senseless act is a further confirmation that politicians and hoodlums have truly hijacked the protest as earlier stated by (some concerned Local government staff in a statement earlier), and there is a need for government and security agencies to take drastic action because this desperate and selfish act may plunge our state into another round of violence,” the statement said.
The group added that it is so obvious that the local government workers’ protest has been hijacked by self-seeking politicians to destabilize the peace and tranquillity in Jos.
It also recalled that the protesters prevented state government workers from gaining access into their offices in the state secretariat for three weeks in December 2020.
The coalition said: “As at today, January 4, 2021, we saw protesters numbering about 3,000, trying to gain entrance into the state secretariat, but troops of Operation Safe Haven, men of the Nigeria Police as well as other security agencies already deployed to forestall any breakdown of law and order intervened to forestall breakdown of law but unfortunately, some of the protesters went violent trying to forcefully gain entrance and harassing innocent citizens.
“A shot from the crowd hit one soldier attached to Operation Safe Haven, and he was wounded. It is obvious that hoodlums have infiltrated the group”.
“We urge government and security agencies to do the needful and prevent these self-seeking politicians from having their way. They do not in any way, mean good for the workers they pretend to be supporting,” it further said.
The group further urged the security agencies to prosecute the protesters arrested during the ugly episode.
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