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Strike: Labour suspends negotiation with Kogi over murder of unionist

The murder of a prominent Labour leader in Kogi State, Mr Abdulmumini Yakubu by unknown gunmen in Okene area of the state has prompted leaders of the organized trade union to suspend their negotiation with the state government.

Prior to the assassination on Thursday, the labour leaders have been negotiating with the representatives of the state government over the prolonged strike by workers in the state civil service.

Yakubu was killed alongside a community leader, Ibrahim Otaru, in his house on November1 at about 6:40 p.m.

Yakubu was until his death the Chairman of the state’s branch of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools ( NASU) of the Science , Technical and Technology Education Board ( STTEB).

He was also a member of the Labour Negotiation Committee on the current industrial dispute with the State Government.

He also doubled as a community leader in Ozowanya area of Okene.

The killers, numbering about five, were said to have arrived Yakubu’s house at Ozovanya in a Sienna bus where they met him and Otaru discussing community matters.

On sighting them, the killers opened fire on Yakubu and Otaru and killed them on the spot.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP William Aya, confirmed the killings, saying that the matter was reported to the Okene Police Station at about 8 p.m. on the day of the incident.

Aya said that the corpses of Yakubu and Otaru were taken to the morgue of the General Hospital, Okene, where an autopsy would be conducted on them.

He said that police had begun a manhunt for the killers to bring them to justice.

The killing of Yakubu has thrown the organised Labour in the state into mourning.

The Nigeria Labour Congress ( NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) immediately announced the suspension of further negotiation with the state government over their demands for the payment of  workers’ outstanding salaries and other benefits.

The talks were earlier scheduled to resume on November 2.

The decision was announced in a statement signed by the Chairman of the NLC, Mr Onu Edoka, and the Chairman of the TUC, Mr Ranti Ojo.

It said that the suspension was to enable workers to mourn their departed colleague.

“Labour leaders will only return to negotiating table as soon as there are full assurances of their safety and that of the members of their families,”the statement said.

It condemned the killing of the unionist and called on the police and the state government to urgently intervene and ensure that the killers were apprehended.

“ The organised abour will continue to fight to ensure that this particular murder does not go the way of many unresolved others,” it said.

Both the NLC and the TUC, however, urged workers to remain steadfast and prayerful for God to intervene in the myriad of problems bedeviling the state and commiserated with the family of the deceased.

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