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Thugs injure 20 protesting Oyo civil servants

Posted by By AKEEB ALARAPE, Ibadan on 2007/06/27 | Views: 922 |

Thugs injure 20 protesting Oyo civil servants


At least, 20 striking civil servants in Oyo State, who embarked on peaceful protest to further buttress their grievances, on Tuesday got a dose of violence that has become second nature to the people of the state, as street urchins unleashed violence on their procession.

At least, 20 striking civil servants in Oyo State, who embarked on peaceful protest to further buttress their grievances, on Tuesday got a dose of violence that has become second nature to the people of the state, as street urchins unleashed violence on their procession.

The workers commenced a full scale indefinite strike to protest the decison of the
new government in the state, led by Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala to cut their minimum pay from N9,400 to N6,500.

After a congress at their state headquarters located at American Quarters, Agodi Gate,
the workers, in their thousands, embarked on a peaceful protest march to the state Secretariat
through NTA Road and the Government House Road.

But on their return journey on the same route, according to the State Secretary of the Nigerian
Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Olu Abiola, some hoodlums attacked the peaceful procession and in the process 20 of the aggrieved workers were inflicted with varying degree of injuries while two sustained knee dislocation.

Abiola told Daily Sun that the attack on his members was carried out in the full glare of policemen and officials of the State Security Services (SSS) attached to the workers based on an earlier letter of notification sent to the security agencies regarding the procession.
"The procession started around 11 'o'clock when we moved from the union secretariat to the Main Gate to the NTA via the Government House Road to the State Secretariat.

The workers were actively guided by the leadership of the TUC and the NLC not to constitute a nuisance on the road.
"At the Government Secretariat, we just took a decoy around the Roundabout and moved back to the congress. It was in the process of returning to the congress through the same route we went that we started receiving stones, cudgel, missiles, guns, broken bottles and pebbles from different directions allegedly by men of the road transport workers union.

"Very unfortunately, it happened before the very eyes of the police, who were on our escort and the SSS officials. They saw everything. How peaceful or rowdy it was and how we were attacked. It was an unprovoked attack.

It was an undeserved attack. It was an embarrassment. In fact, for the first time, I believe the newspapers report that Oyo State is really under a siege and it is unfortunate," Abiola stated.
But while confirming the attack on the protesting workers, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state, Mr Olu Akinmoladun, an Assistant Superintedent of Police (ASP), said the workers were
the ones that provoked the attack by the hoodlums.

According to Akinmoladun, some of the workers entered an office belonging to the transport workers union (NURTW) and started abusing the factional leader of the union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola (Tokyo), a development he said infuriated the suspected thugs and which they reacted to.

"It is true they (workers) wrote us and we gave them police escort. But they caused the crisis. They entered an office of the NURTW and started abusing Tokyo. That was the genesis of the whole thing," Akinmoladun stated.

However, the state government has condemned the attack on the labour leaders saying it would not allow "anybody to foist violence on the peace loving people of Oyo State based on the disagreement between government and labour over the wage increase brought about during the last minute of Senator Ladoja’s administration."

In a statement issued by the governor's Special Adviser on Public Communication, Prince Dotun Oyelade, the government said that it was ready to handle the face-off with the workers maturedly and with "deeper understanding."

"The issue is being handled maturedly and in a civilised manner by government and government abhors any manner of violence that comes in the wake of this labour issue. Whether this is the work of fifth columnists or unprovoked attacked by either of the parties, government will descend heavily on any group that wants to turn Oyo State into a battle field," the statement said.

Meanwhile activities of government have been crippled by the strike embarked upon by the civil servants. A visit to the state-owned Adeoyo State Hospital, Oluyoro, Tuesday showed that most patients in the hospital have been hurriedly discharged while only three Caesarian operation patients were on admission and receiving "humanitarian attention." All schools in the state have also been closed down while the seat of government, Secretariat, Agodi, was a ghost of itself despite the swearing in ceremony of new commissioners and Special Advisers performed by Governor Alao-Akala.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.