Workers of both Nsukka and Udenu Local Government Areas were on Thursday beaten up and chased out of their council secretariats by suspected thugs in order to prevent them from further protesting the non-payment of their salaries.
The workers, who are demanding the payment of their eight and five months salaries respectively, told Daily Times that thugs invaded their secretariats and began to beat them and ordering even visitors out of their offices.
According to an eye-witness account in Udenu LGA, the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) Chairman and his vice as well as workers sustained various degrees of injuries
“They chased away people out of the secretariat compound, only NYSC members in uniform were spared”, he said.
According to one of the workers in Nsukka LGA, “when we asked one of thugs why they were chasing workers away from the secretariat, he replied, you workers feel you can blackmail Nsukka council chairman out of office, no way!”
One of the workers who identified himself as Mike Ezema said that the mission of the thugs was to prevent workers from carrying out a planned protest to demand for payment of their eight months’ salary arrears the council owed them.
‘We wanted to continue the protest we started on Tuesday demanding for the council chairman to pay us our eight months arrears of salaries.
“Do you think the best thing is to use motor park thugs to harass workers who are making legitimate demand of their salary.?
“The bible says a worker deserves his wages” he said.
Confirming the use of thugs by the council to Daily Times, the chairman of NULGE in Nsukka LGA, Mr. George Ngwu, said many of his members had called to tell him about the use of thugs to harass them.
“Some of my members have called me that some thugs are chasing workers out from council secretariat.
“After our protest on Tuesday, I have been hiding as the same thugs have been searching for me either to kill me or kidnap me” he said.
Ngwu said he had already reported the matter to the police and Enugu State NULGE office over the threat to his life.
“I have been receiving series of calls threatening me and asking me where I am. The callers said I am the one telling workers to be protesting on the eight months arrears of salaries owed them”, he said.
When contacted, Mr. Monday Kuryasi, the Nsukka Area Commander confirmed that he got calls from people that some hoodlums were harassing Nsukka and Udenu council workers and had immediately dispatched police patrol teams to council secretariats.
“I have sent my men to Nsukka and Udenu council secretariats to prevent any breach of public peace” he said.
Also when contacted the council chairman, Mr. Charles Ugwu, said in a telephone interview with our correspondent that he was not in the office and was not aware of thugs harassing workers of the council today.
“I am not aware of this development as I did not send anybody to harass workers of the council, they have the right to protest” he said.
As the time of filing this story, one of Nsukka police patrol vans was still stationed at the gate of the secretariat.
Efforts to confirm from the Udenu council chairman proved abortive as several calls put across to him were not answered. (Daily Times)