Armed policemen seal Oyo NLC office

By IndepthAfrica
In Nigeria
Apr 9th, 2012

IBADAN – ARMED policemen yesterday took over the Oyo State Secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Agodi, Ibadan, over what the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yabo Mohammed, said was a preventive measure to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

Not less than 10 armed Mobil Policemen were seen at the entrance of the secretariat denying staff and visitors access to the secretariat.

One of the Policemen manning the entrance of the twin-duplex building of the union told Vanguard that they were given an order to prevent any worker from gaining entry into the office.

It will be recalled that some aggrieved workers had announced the sack of the leadership of NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, accusing them of compromise over the minimum wage table released by the state government.

The group set up a caretaker committee and declared an indefinite strike. The aggrieved group and the leaders of both NLC and TUC later settled their rift and continued the strike.

However, the strike was last week suspended for three weeks after the intervention of some elders in the state. The workers said through their leader, Comrade Bashir Olanrewaju that the strike would be suspended for only two weeks to explore the possibility of dialogue with the government.

Though the state government has been accused of causing crisis within the union, the accusation was dismissed by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation.

Mr. Bosun Oladele said the government had nothing to do with the internal crisis of the union.

Just last Thursday, some people believed to be hoodlums stormed the secretariat and vandalized some vehicles belonging to the workers.

The union alleged that the hoodlums acted on the instruction of the state government adding that the attackers were political thugs.

While reacting to the allegation that the government was responsible for the sealing off of the secretariat, the commissioner said there was no way government could have involved itself in the issue because the union is an independent body and non-governmental.

“What does government stand to gain either by sealing off the secretariat of the workers or embarking on destruction of private property? It is unfortunate that our people are yet to shake off the hang-over of the previous years. How can a government that is put in place to protect lives and property engage in the destruction of the same property, it is not logical”, he argued.

According to him, if the police in the state felt that it should prevent breakdown of law and order, that would not be the responsibility of the government.

Responding to the matter, the state Commissioner of Police, Yabo Mohammed, said the command got an information that the workers were quarreling and that the quarrel led to the vandalism of the vehicles of some of them.

He said, “we cannot fold our hands and allow the situation to degenerate before we take action and that is what we have done. We owe the society the responsibility of maintaining peace and order and I want to assure you that as soon as we are sure that peace has returned into the labour fold, my men will leave the place”.Vanguard

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