By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
Four labour leaders in Oyo State including the state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Waheed Olojede were thursday arrested and detained by men of the state Police Command.
New Nigerian gathered that other arrested labour leaders included the NLC Vice Chairman, Mr. Titilayo Sodo, Secretary, Mrs. Kofo Ogundeji and the Auditor, Mr. Kehinde Oparinde.
Sources close to the NLC said the labour leaders were detained in connection with the Wednesday disruption of the education stakeholders forum organized by the state government on its Public Private Partnership and return of public secondary schools in the state.
According to sources close to state NLC, the labour leaders were invited by the state Police Commissioner, Mr Leye Oyebade early in the day and subsequently detained on arriving the Police Commissioner’s office till the time of filing this report.
Speaking with journalists last night, Oyo NLC state Treasurer, Mr Bosun Daramola declared that the four labour leaders were invited by the Police since 10 am and were yet to be released, saying, the arrested labour leaders who have been at the Police headquarters since morning were yet to be reached by their colleagues as their phones have been reportedly seized.
According to him, “we were only told that the continued detention of the NLC leaders was because the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade was busy with another pressing assignment”.
“We had a peaceful protest yesterday (Wednesday) to reject a policy of the government, which we felt was unpopular and anti-people and today all we see was the invitation of our leaders. Their phones have been seized and all calls put through to them could not get through since 10am. Our leaders must not stay overnight at the station’’.
Professor Segun Ajiboye, the Ibadan Zone Coordinator of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) condemned the use of Police apparatus to intimidate Nigerians, saying the Civil Society group is demanding unconditional release of all labour leaders.
“I can’t believe this is a democracy. How can you arrest people for protesting against poisonous policy that will empower the rich to the detriment of the poor. I can’t believe this is the change under president Buhari led government. How can Governor Ajimobi think that repressive use of state apparatus will end the mass movement against sale of public schools” he said.
Professor Ajiboye added “this is not a military government and people have rights to protest. The Police are treating our labour leaders as criminals when they cannot arrest vandals, kidnappers, the Niger-Delta Avengers are there but they want to support illegality. We will resist this latest tyranny of the Ajimobi government. They have even denied him access to his lawyers. This is unbelievable. This is not change but Chain!”
Confirming the detention of the labour leaders, Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Adekunle Ajisebutu, declared that the labour leaders were invited to explain their roles in the protest of Wednesday.
“It is true that they were invited to explain their role in the wanton destruction of government’s properties during their violent protest on Wednesday”
Police detain Oyo NLC Chairman 3 others over protest against OYSG education policy
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.