Vice-President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu has urged the National Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into the deaths of at least 10 persons, mostly women in a stampede in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital last week Wednesday.
It was gathered that they died while struggling to receive their Sallah largesse at the residence of the late strongman of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki.
The labour leader said the incident must not be swept under the carpet even as he advocated for a permanent stop to the annual practice which he said had fast assumed the semblance of ‘rituals’.
In a statement in Ilorin at the weekend, Mr. Aremu described the incident as unacceptable and criminal, saying, “The Ilorin deaths have introduced a dangerous dimension to violence in Nigerian politics. When ‘accidents’ become addictive as they were in Ilorin, they become rituals that must be condemned, investigated and stopped once and for all”.
He called on government to provide jobs and income generating ventures for the poor instead of assembling them annually in the name of distributing Sallah gifts.
“The poor do not need charity and gifts paid for with public funds. What the people need is work and income generating employment initiated by governments at all levels,” he said.
According to him, “The reported deaths of people, mostly women in another stampede at a Sallah rally at the house of Senator Bukola Saraki of Kwara State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ilorin on Wednesday were massacres getting too addictive, inhuman and unacceptable. This latest tragedy and human wastage should not be swept under the official carpet of the ruling party in the state.
“On the contrary, the organizers of these periodic murders in the name of charity must be identified and prosecuted for negligence and murder by the Kwara State government. Similar mass deaths occurred in 2010 and 2011 at the Mandate office of the PDP in Ilorin under the pretext of an alleged stampede while people were ostensibly collecting gifts at Sallah”, Mr. Aremu stated.