*Police debunks arrest, detention of video makers, threatens prosecuting NLC Chairman
By; MKPUMA ENYINNA, Abakaliki
The chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Ebonyi State, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor has condemned in its entirety, the flogging of civil servants who reported late in a viral video at the airport, while demanding for the immediate release of the video makers who were allegedly arrested and detained in police custody.
But in a twist, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Chris Anyanwu debunked the allegation, saying that it is not true anyone was arrested.
In a statement issued by the chairman of NLC in Ebonyi State, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor condemned the flogging of civil servants who work at the airport and also called on government to quickly release the Personal Assistant to the Honourable Commissioner for Infrastructure Development and Concession, Chief Romanus Nwasum and his official driver, who were arrested and put in detention for recording the viral video.
“The Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ebonyi State Chapter, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor wishes to use this avenue to condemn in strongest terms the October 4th 2022 incident wherein soldiers allegedly acting on the orders of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi flogged civil servants who reported late to work with horse whips at the entrance gate of the state’s airport site in Okaleru, Ezza North Local Government Area of the state.
“In a video which has since gone viral on the Social Media, the Aide De Camp to the governor was seen with soldiers, flogging workers who were lying down on a muddy floor, while the governor who parked his official vehicle directly in the opposite lane, was seen supervising the torture.
“While the government through a statement by the office of the Commissioner for Information, Barr. Uchenna Orji has tried to fabricate a cover up on the incident which is not the first and may not even be the last, Nigerians and the world have been asking lots of probing questions emanating attempt to stand truth, facts and Logic on its head.
“First is that contrary to the claims of the state government that the footage was soldiers trying to discipline “some miscreants or IPOB members” trying to enforce a sit-at-home order and thereby, preventing the governor from gaining access into the premises, the reality is that the victims were civil servants and menial workers working at the ongoing construction site at the airport.
“For the benefit of the doubters, the identities of the victims who are mainly staff of the state’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Concession (MIDC), have been revealed as follows; Iyke Okoro, HoD Finance/Accountant, Emmanuel Ajuka, Cashier and Engr.Monday Ogboloko of the Civil Department.
“Others are, a female, Basil Blessing Oluchi, a storekeeper in the ministry and some machine operators and project staff working in the state’s airport project site”.
He further stated that the law does not permit in any way or form, for a uniformed officer to lay hands on a civil servant no matter the offense simply on the orders of anyone, not even the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He therefore, called on the Nigerian military top hierarchy to withdraw and discipline the soldiers who participated in this unholy and highly unprofessional conduct.
Reacting to the allegations, Ebonyi State Police Command, in a statement debunked the allegations, stating that Ebonyi State Police Command did not detain Mr. Romanus Nwasum nor his driver as alleged in some quarters and therefore, challenged NLC to provide evidence or which cell or police division they were detained.
The Police also threatened to arrest and prosecute the NLC chairman if he fails to provide evidence.
“Ebonyi State Police Command under the leadership of CP Aliyu Garba psc (+), did not at anytime detain Chief Romanus Nwasum or his driver as alleged.
“The Command therefore, challenges the NLC Chairman, Ebonyi State Chapter, to mention the actual Cell facility or Police Division/Outfit where such detention purportedly took place.
“While we await his response, may it please all to know that the State Police Command has been doing everything possible within the limits of its capacity and capability to ensure that its duties and functions are discharged in the most responsible and professional manner.
“The Command further warns that if the said NLC Chairman fails to indicate where the persons he named were allegedly detained (in any Police Facility), he will be arrested and arraigned for False Information and other concomitant offences.” the state read.