Ahead of off-circle elections in three states comprising of Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States this weekend – a Non-Governmental Organization – The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) has called on the electorates in the three states to file-out in large numbers to exercise their franchise without any fear of intimidation, harassment or any molestation whatsoever.
The Group stated that with the level of security guaranteed by all the Security Agencies operating in Nigeria during the election, it is expected that there would be relative peace throughout the election coming-up on Saturday.
In a Press Statement issued today and signed by the National Coordinator of the Group – Alh. Ibrahim Abdullahi, it appealed to INEC to ensure free and transparent elections as well as early arrival of polling materials and functionaries to all polling locations.
On the threat of strike before, during and after the elections holding in three states this weekend, the Group appealed to the Labour and Industrial Unions to resolve all disagreements through dialogue and collective bargaining as contained in the Labour Laws, adding that using strike as weapon to resolve industrial crisis as outdated and uncivilised.
The Group also appealed to all the Security Agencies involved in the elections in the three states, not to treat any electoral infraction with levity – stating that disruption of elections in whatever form must be dealt with promptly according to the law.
On the issue of prevention of flights from Abuja Airport to Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri and shutting down of utilities in Imo State by Labour Unions, the Group called for caution stating that Security Forces would not watch helplessly when matters concern national security, they should therefore watch any of their action that would bring them in conflict the constituted authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies.
The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria said one of its mandates is to support Governments at levels to sustain peace, stability and progress of this Nation. It therefore admonished Nigerian Labour activists to give peace a chance by not meddling in political affairs, rather, they should remain focused on their labour struggles devoid of political interests otherwise they would be misunderstood.
MMWG called on the Hon. Minister of State for Labour & Employment Hon. Nkieruka Onyejeocha who might be in the Country presently (as Lawyer Simon Lalong is away in Geneva for ILO Conference) to rise to the challenge posed by recent threat to Nation’s industrial peace and cause the Labour to opt for settlement of the imbrogolio arising from botched labour protest in Owerri last week over the reported manhandling of the President of NLC Mr. Joe Ajaero, so that the matter could be solved amicably.
The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria reiterated its call for purnishment for electoral offenders, pointing out that electoral offences including violence leading to loss of lives have been a recurring decimal due to lack of any serious consequence for offenders in the past. It therefore calls on the Federal Government not to delay further the constitution of National Electoral Offences Commission (NEOC) to deal with past and fresh electoral offences to curb election violence and malpractices. Finally, MMWG called on the Labour and Industrial Unions Leaders in the Country to patriotically separate labour issues from political matters, pointing out that labour leaders must insulate themselves from partisan politics so as not be accused of political partisanship and parochialism