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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements

Condolences to Nigerian unions

10 July 2003

Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, has written the following letter to Adams Oshiomhole, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress

Condolences on the killing of comrades during protest action in Lagos

On behalf of the South African workers and the leaders of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, I would like to convey revolutionary greetings to you, the leadership of the NLC and Nigerian workers.

It was with great sadness that we learnt of the killing of more than ten workers, during protest action in Lagos on Monday. COSATU condemns in the strongest terms any violence that is meted out to any trade union or political organisation, exercising i ts constitutional right to protest. Such action makes us feel like we are back in the period preceding democratization in South Africa, when any political action was suppressed by military force.

It is therefore of great concern that such brutal suppression, or attempts thereof, are carried out by a democratically elected government, whose primary mandate is the protection of its citizenry. The violence brought upon those workers certainly pain ts a disturbing picture on the prospects of the African Union and the NEPAD, both of whose objectives are to bring about development and peace in the continent.

It is ironic that President Obasanjo as one of the drivers of the NEPAD, which distinctly spells out the importance of ensuring protection and respect of human rights, can allow the police forces to flout this right.

We, as COSATU, have been following closely the developments on the strike and once more would like to congratulate the strength and tenacity of the NLC leadership in fighting for the socio-economic rights of the Nigerian workers and people in general. Your leadership provides a perfect example of what African trade union leadership should be.

Forward with the struggle for the economic emancipation of the African people!

Patrick Craven
Acting COSATU Spokesperson

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