What was supposed to be a peaceful rally of Ogun State striking workers yesterday turned violent as the workers attacked a member of Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon Olayiwola Ojodu.
The lawmaker who arrived at the Ogun State Secretariat of the Nigerian Labour Congress in Abeokuta, the state capital had his official car vandalised as he was pelted with stones and satchel water.
Ojodu who is the Chairman, House Committee on Information, it was
gathered, was at the Secretariat to deliver a letter of appreciation in furtherance to earlier meetings between the House and the leadership of the striking workers.
The Chairman of Ogun NLC, Akeem Ambali who was on the podium addressing the workers when the lawmaker arrived hurriedly approached
him and collected the letter as the crowd chased him out of the premises.
When contacted on phone, Ojodu who declined comment on the incident said he was at the Secretariat to deliver the letter as requested by the workers.
He said, “I don’t want to talk because we are looking for peace and not trouble, the house is intervening and what they demanded for is what I came to give them. They demanded a letter and that is what I come to give them, the letter is with them and they will read and reveal the content.”
But a member the Assembly who spoke on the letter on condition of anonymity said, “We met them and the meeting was held twice. At the meeting, we appealed to them to call off the strike and allow the House of Assembly to intervene and they agreed.
“But what we’ve done is to give them, as requested, a letter of appreciation and to reinstate our position that we will be open to mediate between the executive and the workers in finding lasting solution to the strike.”
Meanwhile the striking workers have insisted that there’s no going back on the industrial action as the strike enters the second week.
An earlier proposed peaceful protest to the State Secretariat slated for yesterday was cancelled because of the alleged unruly behaviour of the workers.
The protest however took place from the NLC Secretariat in Abiola Way and ended at the Secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ under the watchful eyes of security operatives.
Visit to the State Secretariat in Oke-Mosan showed that a handful of workers defied the workers leadership as they were seen on their duty posts.
Heavily armed mobile police officers including men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps mounted the two entrances to the Secretariat.
Speaking during the protest, the NLC Chairman who demanded apology
from the state government for allegedly lying against them said the action would have been unnecessary if the government had been responsive.
He said, “This action would have been unnecessary if the government had been responsive, behave responsibly to the expectations of the Ogun State workers.
“When an ultimatum is served, that doesn’t mean we are in war, we want
to use the opportunity to negotiate and dialogue but when the government shut her doors on collective bargaining and dialogue, what we are witnessing now will be the repercussions.”