The Taraba State governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku has banned all forms of demonstrations in the state by public servants, students and other governmental organisations, as a result of unpaid salaries and other entitlements.
In a press statement on Saturday, the governor directed that groups or individuals interested in protesting must seek government approval before embarking on such exercise.
The statement, signed by the Deputy Chief Press Secretary, Illiya Bekyu Akweh, read: “Individuals or groups wanting to embark on any form of demonstration in the state without government approval are warned to desist forthwith or face the full wrath of the law.”
Citing recent protest embarked on by primary school pupils demanding for the immediate payments of their teachers’ salaries, the governor warned parents and guardians to desist from encouraging their wards to embark on such acts.
The governor warned that any attempt by individuals or groups to undermine the credibility of the government would not be tolerated and that anyone caught in such act would be treated as a saboteur.”
Due to non-payment of salaries as at when due, protests and strikes actions have in recent time been the order of the day in the state.
When reached for comments, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) described the governor’s public utterances as “a mere threat that won’t see the light of the day.”
The state NLC chairman, Peter Gambo, said: “It is our right to demonstrate and we are not intimidated by that statement.”
To avert any form of protest in the state, the governor, as suggested by the NLC boss must endeavour to settle all salary arrears meant for public servants, saying it is “the only way we can desist from embarking on peaceful demonstrations.”
Lawyers that spoke to The Guardian on the issue said even though the governor has all the legal backing to halt workers from protesting, there is need for him to pay workers as at when due.
As at the time of filing this report, pensioners in the state have concluded plans to pitch their tents with primary school teachers, the Taraba Football Club (Taraba FC) and others to embark on peaceful protests to press home their demands.