Subsidy: Labour leader arrested, remanded in Enugu prison | 2 others declared wanted by police

From PETRUS OBI, Enugu
For trying to enforce the ongoing nationwide strike in protest against the removal of the oil subsidy by the Federal Government, a labour leader in Enugu State, Festus Ozoeze was yesterday arrested by the police and remanded in Enugu Prisons.

 Ozoeze, who is the Unit Vice Chair of Amalgamated Workers Union in Water Corporation, Enugu, was reportedly arrested by the police, tried by a tribunal set up by the state government at the Police CID and sent to the Enugu Prisons for planning to cause breach of the peace inthe state.

 Enugu State Head of Service, Denis Eze, who destroyed keys used by labour to lock up offices was said to have petitioned against alongside his Chairman at the Water Corporation, Timothy Ojielo and state Chairman of his union, Chris Elibe. Both unionists have long been declared wanted by the police.

 Ahead of the proposed protest, Governor Sullivan Chime had banned the holding of any public assemblies, meetings or public procession in any part of the state threatening to deal with any person or group who attempted to cause any breach of peace.

 Confirming the arrest and incarceration of their member, state Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Igbokwe Chukwuma, who condemned the action noted that the information got to them very late on Tuesday evening.
 “However, we discussed it in our meeting and we are going to follow it up; we learnt he was arrested and tried within the state Police CID and sent to prison; this is something we cannot take. We have met and decided to see the attorney-general to register our protest; we are also in touch with the labour headquarters. So immediately after meeting with the attorney-general we will take a position on that.”

 On the inability of the organised labour to organise a successful protest in Enugu, Igbokwe said, “since Monday we’ve been on it; we woke up Monday morning to see that government had issued a proclamation banning gathering and protest in Enugu State; we looked at it as something very unfair; we tried to move like other states but a contingent of policemen had been stationed in front of our secretariat, which is our meeting point and you see they have remained here all these days.

 “Actually, today we wanted to go to the streets again but we were restricted; we were even pushed; so we are saying that this is very unfair; what is happening in other states should happen in Enugu State. This is a national issue not a state issue and Enugu State workers have not been associated with violence of any kind in all our demonstrations.”

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