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Abia promises to protect foreign investors, Nigerian employees against racial discrimination

By Gordi Udeajah (Umuahia) and Collins Osuji (Owerri)
24 August 2020   |   4:02 am
Abia State government has re-assured foreign investors in the state of protection as long as they operate in accordance with extant laws of the country and the state.

• Imo youths petition Uzodinma over detained ISOPADEC workers
Abia State government has re-assured foreign investors in the state of protection as long as they operate in accordance with extant laws of the country and the state.

It also vowed to protect Nigerian employees/workers in foreign investments in the state against any form of racial discrimination or maltreatment.

This government policy was re-stated at the weekend by Sam Hart, secretary of the panel, constituted by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to investigate allegations of maltreatment of Nigerian workers in Inner Galaxy Steel Company Ltd, a Chinese firm that operates a factory at Umuahala Obuzor in Ukwa West Council of Abia State.

The allegations were reportedly published online via a tweeter handle @ Truthfully83.

But counsel to Inner Galaxy Company, Mr. Nnamdi Nwokocha-Ahaaiwe, had last week debunked the allegations, which ranged from Inner Galaxy Company running a “modern day slave camp”, exposing its Nigerian workers to work under the most dehumanising conditions known to mankind, including maintaining a slave/master relationship between its Nigerian and Chinese employees, among others, as baseless falsehoods.

Hart consequently invited members of the public who have information that would enable his panel ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the allegations to make them available to his panel, which will hold a public session in Umuahia, the state capital, tomorrow.

IN another development, youths of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta local councils of Imo State have appealed to Governor Hope Uzodinma to facilitate the release on bail of 15 members of staff of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC), who were arrested, detained and taken to court on two-count charge of treason and armed robbery.

The affected oil workers were last Tuesday arrested and detained by the state police command over alleged attack on the state governor’s convoy while protesting against their three months unpaid salary.

The police, in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, accused the protesters of unlawful assembly, possession of guns and dangerous weapons and conducting themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of the peace.

The group, in a statement, insisted that the arrested protesters were genuine officials of ISOPADEC and their kinsmen and not hoodlums or being sponsored by the opposition as reported by the police and media.

They, therefore, threatened to stage a protest to register their position over what they described as false incarceration of their people, saying: “We are considering seriously coming to join them in the prison if this matter is not properly addressed, especially urgently.”

Earlier while reacting on the development, the Union Chairman, Awuzie Chinedu, also denied the alleged involvement of his colleagues on the reported attack on the governor’s convoy and urged the governor and the Inspector-General of Police to release them without further delay.

Awuzie said that the accusations by the police against the commission’s officials were a ploy by the state government to divert attention, insisting that they would continue to employ legal means to ensure that their salary arrears were paid and in full.