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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Unions want IGP to remove police from Rivers council secretariats

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The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Rivers State have called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to order police officers to immediately vacate government council secretariats. local in the state.

The unions declared this in Port Harcourt on Friday after an emergency meeting of the state joint administrative council, Punch newspaper reported.

The Rivers State Police Commissioner had ordered officers to take charge of the 23 local government council secretariats in the state after violent clashes between supporters of Governor Siminalayi Fubara and those of his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who resulted in the death of two people, including a police officer.

Governor Fubara’s supporters stormed council secretariats in the state and demanded that council officials vacate their positions upon the expiration of their three-year term.

However, former elected officials, particularly the council chairmen, who are loyal to Mr Wike, now a FCT minister, refused to leave office, triggering violence and prompting police intervention to prevent further breakdown of law and order.

The police, who took over the council secretariat on Wednesday, said they would not withdraw their officers until the Court of Appeal ruled on the matter.

NLC state chairman Alex Agwanwor and TUC chairman Ikechukwu Onyefuru, in a joint statement after their meeting on Friday, said workers have been denied access to the council for days, leading to a loss of work hours.

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The unions said they support the four-day ultimatum issued by the Rivers State Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees president, Clifford Paul, asking the police to clear the councils or face protests.

“The councils in session commend the men and officers of the Nigerian Police for their proactivity in maintaining law and order amid the recent political unrest.

“However, the councils in session seriously disapprove of the closure of the Secretariat of the 23 Local Government Councils by men and officers of the Nigerian Police for the purpose of maintaining law and order, thereby preventing our members from complying with his legal duty.

“Given the actions of the Nigerian Police, the number of working hours lost since the occupation of security agencies in the 23 local government councils is irrecoverable, and the consequent consequences of dismissing people from their jobs without alternative means of participation in society are too important to address in the present case.

“Accordingly, the councils of both the NLC and the TUC call on the Inspector General of Police to immediately direct the Commissioner of the Rivers State Police Command to allow legitimate workers of the various Local Government Councils access to their offices,” the unions said.

Trade unions in the state described as “selfish” the call for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state by Tony Okocha, the chairman of the caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress in the state.

“The councils in session unanimously condemn in strong terms the alleged call for a state of emergency in Rivers State by some so-called political leaders of the state who, in all its ramifications, do not wish the people of Rivers State the best . While we appreciate people’s right to their own opinion, it is also important not to allow self-centeredness to override our sense of reasoning.

“All Rivers State workers are hereby placed on red alert for possible action to protect and defend the interests of Rivers State workers,” the unions said.

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