The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, to intervene in alleged unlawful arrest of its members.
In a statement, the NLC expressed outrage at what it called the harassment, arrest and detention of its members in Oyo State, by the police command.
The NLC in Oyo State, South West Nigeria, had embarked a peace protest against the sale of public schools under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
“The right to peaceful protest against a wrong is guaranteed by the 1999 constitution (as amended), Labour/ Trade Union Laws, ILO Conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory and Human Rights Laws and cannot be abridged by the Police or any agency of government.
The public schools which the Oyo State Government is selling without due process or consent of the people were built with the sweat and blood of the people. Among the beneficiaries of this public school education system is the Governor himself and other members of his cabinet”, the statement said.
The statement signed by NLC President Ayuba Wabba fourth said “for them today to turn around and put up for sale these same schools, lock, stock, and barrel to the highest bidder, does not only constitute a contradiction but an unforgivable act of betrayal. By this singular act, they have denied and will continue to deny the children of the poor access to education which is their inalienable right under the constitution.
I am not too sure members of the police force will be pleased if their children are denied access to education.
Accordingly, I would request you to order the unconditional release of these workers as well as put a stop to their harassment in the interest of justice and industrial harmony”, Wabba said.
He urged that efforts should be made by all segments of the society including the Nigerian Police Force “in order not to precipitate an avoidable national crisis, as we will not hesitate to call out a nation-wide action in support of our colleagues in Oyo State.
You have brought relative sanity and professionalism to the Force. We urge that no overzealous officer be allowed at this point in time to dent this record.”