ISOPADEC staff demand immediate release of detained colleagues
Staff of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) has called on the state governor Hope Uzodinma and the Inspector General of Police to facilitate the immediate release of their colleagues detained by the police.
The state police command had arrested and detained 15 officials of the Commission over their alleged attack on the convoy of the state governor while protesting their three months salary arrears in Owerri on Monday.
In a statement signed by the Command Public Relations Officer, AS Orlando Ikeokwu, they were accused them of unlawful assembly, possession of gun and dangerous weapons/conduct likely to cause breach of the peace.
The statement reads in part, “on the 17th of August 2020, at about 1130hrs, a group of persons who claim to be staff of ISOPADEC ambushed the convoy of the Executive Governor of Imo State.
“The governor was on his way to Obinze for an official assignment when the group who also claimed to be owed three (3) months salary, attacked the vehicles in the convoy with locally made pistol and machetes around Concord area of New Owerri. In the process, windscreens of some of the vehicles in the convoy were smashed and the vehicles damaged.”
But speaking to newsmen in Owerri on Thursday, the union chairman, Comrade Awuzie Chinedu denied the alleged involvement of his colleague on the reported attack on the governor’s convoy around Concorde Hotel area of the state.
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.
“The truth is that ISOPADEC staff were nowhere near Concorde Hotel Owerri yesterday. Our staff gathered at IICC (Warehouse Junction) from where they marched to Government House, both in Owerri, when they were confronted by a joint team of thugs and police men who were bearing machetes, cutlasses, submachine guns and automatic weapons.
“The claims of the Police and Government that ISOPADEC staff attempted a kidnap or ambush of the Governor is diversionary, disingenuous, false and misleading.
“Will these protesters, all 15 of them, “ambush” the State Governor, who is undoubtedly the most guarded citizen of Imo State, with one locally made pistol, one machete and a masquerade’s mask (attire)?”
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