The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has written a letter to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar requesting for an apology on the harsh treatment meted on newly-recruited Universal Basic Education (UBE) teachers in Port Harcourt recently as well as the outright sack of the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu from the State’s Police Command.
The police had claimed that about 13, 0000 newly recruited teachers’ march to the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt was orchestrated by Governor Rotimi Amaechi to protest against president Goodluck Jonathan rather than to collect their employment letters. Hence they were tear-gassed by the policemen.
The NLC letter which was signed by General Secretary Chris Uyot and entitled “The police must act with decency” stated tear-gassed and brutalized the newly-recruited teachers in Rivers State who had gathered at the instance of the State’s Universal Basic Education Board to receive their letters of posting.
The congress insisted that the conduct of the police was “unnecessary, shameful, ill-advised, contemptuous, illegal and a throw-back to the dark ages”.
Criticising the excesses of the State Command and lack of the ability to inspire confidence in the contending parties in the state, the congress requested that the IGP post Mbu out of Rivers State for “free and unfettered investigation”.
Furthermore, Uyot’s letter stated that the congress is not interested in the politics of the state and will not fold its arms “while the members are being unjustifiably brutalized”.
The letter read in parts: “We are inclined to believe Mr. Joseph Mbu, the State Commissioner of Police who directed this heinous attack, was not acting at your behest because we recall you came into office with a new code of conduct which Nigerians applauded.
“Need we remind overzealous, blood-thirsty and sycophantic officers like Mbu that we are old enough as a nation and sufficiently experienced as citizens of this country to know that it does little good when an officer of his rank compromises his institution or code of conduct in order to appease insular and selfish motives.
“We also had cause earlier to draw your attention to the deliberate closure of Obio/Akpor Local Government Secretariat at the behest of the State Commissioner of Police. This has resulted in work stoppage and non-payment of workers salary for three months, inflicting untoward suffering to working families whose bread winners work in the local government.
“We repeat for the umpteenth time for the benefit of those who have ears; we need strong institutions to sustain not just our democracy but our society, and the police force should be seen to be part of that process. We do not need time servers, servile people or psychopaths to prosecute this noble agenda because they simply are incapable of doing so.”
However, the congress sought a “firm assurance from the Police to conduct itself in the future in line with civilised norms and rules of engagement”.
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