–      security operatives withdrawn few minutes before attack

The reprehensible details of how thugs allegedly loyal to the Imo state government on Monday, May 1, disrupted the Workers Day celebration organized at Laour House, along the Imo State University by Phindec road, in Owerri Municipal Council, have continued to emerge.

The Acting Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress NLC, in Imo State, Comrade George Ofoegbu, while speaking as a guest of hot FM radio station yesterday, said, ‘’it was indeed a very terrible and horrific experience. ‘’They stormed our Secretariat at about 6am on Monday and locked up everywhere, destroyed the canopies we mounted for the event and left. The workers eventually converged and re-erected the canopies for the event to start. They came back at about 10am but could not penetrate because of the presence of security operatives who were there at our instances. But surprisingly, few minutes after they arrived, the security operatives came and told me that they have been withdrawn from the premises based on instructions from above’’.

‘’Shortly after the withdrawn security operatives departed, the environment became charged, as the thugs who were hanging around descended heavily on the workers and everyone in sight. They unleashed mayhem on the workers who ran helter skelter for safety. They inflicted different degrees of injuries on the people, some of who are presently on admission at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Specialist Hospital along Orlu Road’’.

Continuing, Ofoegbu said, ‘’some people lost their laptops, phones and other personal items in the stampede which started midway into my speech, when we had not even started the ceremonial march past’’.

Some workers who spoke to our correspondent who sampled their opinions about the development expressed disappointment with the state government’s penchant for disorganizing and creating confusion within the ranks of professional bodies, trade and industrial unions in a bid to hijack and dictate the pace of their activities. They also wondered why the Hope Uzodinma led APC administration, has more than any one before it, created parallel unions and professional bodies, thereby creating confusion, disharmony and mutual distrust.

They citied the situation in the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Imo State Council and the National Association of Women Journalists, (NAWOJ) Imo State Council among others, where the state government has sown seeds of discord by creating and empowering factions to flight and contend with the authentic, legitimate groups that have the mass acceptance and followership of members who, on the other hand have vowed to resist imposition and manipulation. Hence, the resort to violence, harassment, intimidation and arm twisting with the aid of thugs, hoodlums and of course the compromised security operatives.