Imo workers begin work-to-rule tomorrow as NLC storms Owerri
• Writes Buhari, IGP on brutality of militia
THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) will tomorrow, Wednesday storm Owerri, the Imo State capital to begin the process of work-to-rule by workers in the state.
The President of Congress, Ayuba Wabba, said in Abuja that the work-to-rule by the workers would be in force until the governor of the State, Rochas Okorocha reinstate the sacked workers.
In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to call Governor Okorocha to order, Wabba observed that the governor did not follow the rule of engagement in disengaging workers.
The letter read in part: “I therefore, wish to appeal to you to call the Governor of Imo State to order. There are laid down procedures and laws on the disengagement of workers, where that becomes necessary.”
He berated the governor for engaging the services of armed thugs and private security that have visited assaults on the workers.
In a separate letter to the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, NLC said: “ The governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha has embarked on suspension and sack of workers through radio and other media pronouncements and without due industrial relations processes or observance of subsisting labour laws.
The leadership of Congress had reached out to him to prevail on him to follow laid down labour laws and procedures. Barely 48 hours after we met with him and his assurances that he would not act outside the law, his government went on air to suspend workers across the 19 parastatals. Worse still, he followed the announcement with the deployment of armed private security and thugs to chase out workers from their offices. This illegal deployment of brute force resulted in the brutalization of and inflict of severe injuries on a number of workers.”
Congress further noted that the shooting of a Medical Doctor by an armed police man during a peaceful protest by members of the Nigeria Medical Association in Owerri represents a big minus for the police force that claims credit for reform on the one hand, and a rising degree of intolerance for alternative view point by the government of Rochas Okorocha.
NLC stated that even in wars without rules, Medical Doctors and other health workers enjoy the singular distinction of protection and preservation by combatants on either side.
“For the police to therefore, fire live ammunition at peacefully protesting doctors asking for their legitimate rights runs counter to any known rule of engagement,” NLC said.
It added that the shooting of the Medical Doctor who is lying critically ill, is not an isolated case but part of a growing terror culture instituted by Governor Okorocha.
It hinted that within the last two weeks alone, the armed militia had beaten a Medical Doctor at Uboma Hospital to a state of coma as well as brutalized several others, saying the governor’s militia, given cover by the state Police Command, funded and armed by workers’ taxes, have embarked on a campaign of brutalization and dehumanization against workers as they (Militia and Police) forcefully sought to enforce the closure of 19 government parastatals whose sale or privatization was announced on the radio the previous day.
Congress maintained that the use of the armed police and militia against law-abiding workers by the Governor of Imo State is unlawful, immoral and betrays the principles of democracy and should be resisted by all.
Accordingly, Congress demanded that the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force not only immediately bring to book, this trigger-happy police man but weed from its ranks all characters undeserving of the police uniform.
NLC warned that if no appropriate action is taken against the Governor and his band of marauding militia and procured police personnel, in the well-known principle of self-defense, it shall respond in its own time.
It added: “Our calm and deference to the rule of law should not be mistaken as cowardice. Workers, like any other group of Nigerians, have rights guaranteed by the law!”