Organised Labour Demands Police Exit from Rivers State Local Councils

NLC tells police to exit Rivers LG councils or face protest

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have condemned the occupation of 23 local government secretariats in Rivers State by the Nigerian police.

They have called on Inspector-General of Police Kayode Egbetokun to immediately withdraw his officers, arguing that the matter is still under judicial review.

Following an emergency joint administrative council meeting in Port Harcourt, NLC Chairman Alex Agwanwor and TUC Chairman Ikechukwu Onyefuru issued a joint statement criticizing the police action. They noted that workers have been denied access to their workplaces for days, leading to significant loss of manpower.

The unions have endorsed the ultimatum from the state President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Cliffor Paul, demanding that the police vacate the premises within 24 hours or face renewed protests.

“The councils-in-session commend the proactive efforts of the Nigeria Police Force in maintaining law and order amidst recent political turmoil. However, the sealing of the 23 Local Government Councils Secretariat by police officers, which has prevented our members from performing their statutory duties, is unacceptable,” the statement read.

The statement highlighted the irrecoverable loss of man-hours and the severe impact on workers who have been barred from their jobs without alternative means of engagement. The unions called on the Inspector General of Police to instruct the Rivers State Commissioner of Police to allow workers access to their offices immediately.

Additionally, the unions criticized the call by All Progressives Congress State Caretaker Committee Chairman, Chief Tony Okocha, for a state of emergency in Rivers State. They described the move as self-seeking and detrimental to the state’s welfare.

The Rivers State Police Command had earlier taken control of the local government secretariats to prevent further violence and maintain order following a crisis over the tenure of local government chairmen, which has resulted in two fatalities.

“The entire workforce of Rivers State is hereby put on red alert for possible actions to protect and defend the interests of Rivers State workers,” the unions declared.

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