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Workers mourn slain coal miners

By Tony Edike

ENUGU—HUNDREDS of Enugu State Government workers, yesterday staged a rally in honour of the 21 coal miners massacred 60 years ago by the Colonial Police, lamenting that the Nigerian workers are still being exploited several years after the dastardly act.

The rally was organised under the aegis  of the Nigerian Labour Congress. According to the workers, their expectations that Nigeria’s independence would guarantee improved welfare has remained a mirage, as successive administrations after the colonial regime had continued to exploit the workers.

They insisted that the forces that masterminded the massacre of the coal miners have not been defeated but only changed their colour from white to black, noting that the forces are manifest in the exploitation of workers in payment of slave wages, downsizing of workers, privatization, deregulation, profiteering, arrogant display of loots and anti-democratic policies.

The coal miners had embarked on an industrial action to press for living wages and improved conditions of service on November 18, 1949 but the colonial masters unleashed the colonial police on them in an attempt to break their rank, during which the 21 miners were shot dead.  One Senior Superintendent F.S. Philip ordered the shooting of the protesting miners.  55 were also wounded in the shooting.


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