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    Ebonyi NLC Condemns Alleged Flogging Of Workers In Viral Video, Gives Gov Umahi 48hours Ultimatum To Apologize

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    By David Akpu Abakaliki

    The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Ebonyi State Chapter has condemned a viral video wherein soldiers allegedly acting on the orders of the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. David Umahi, flogged civil servants who reported late to work with horsewhips at the gate of the State’s Airport site in Okaleru, Ezza North Local Government Area of the State.

    In the video which has since gone viral on the Social media, the Aide De Camp to the Governor is seen with soldiers flogging some persons who were lying down on the floor in front of the airport gate while Governor Umahi who parked his official vehicle directly in the opposite lane is seen allegedly supervising the torture.

    The incident took place on Monday October, 4, 2022, but the State government through Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barrister Uchenna Orji, had denied in a statement that the people being flogged in the viral video, were civil servants.

    Orji explained that the footage was soldiers trying to discipline some miscreants trying to enforce a sit-at-home order and thereby preventing the Governor from gaining access into the premises.

    But the statement by NLC in the State which was signed by the State Chairman, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor, and made available to Journalists on Saturday, disagreed with the State government, saying that the victims were actually civil servants and menial workers working at the ongoing construction site at the airport.

    Nwafor said: “For the benefit of the doubters, the identities of the victims who are mainly staff of the State’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Concession, MIDC have been revealed as follows; Iyke Okoro, HoD Finance/Accountant, Emmanuel Ajuka, Cashier and Engr.Monday Ogboloko of the Civil Department.

    “Others are; a female, Basil Blessing Oluchi, a Storekeeper in the Ministry and some Machine Operators and Project staff working in the State’s Airport project site.”

    Nwafor further demanded that Governor Umahi must apologize to Ebonyians within 48 hours over the alleged act which he described as a monumental embarrassment.

    “NLC is miffed that a leader in the mould of Umahi who even took a serious shot at Nigeria’s Presidency could order, condone and even supervise such uncouth and terribly barbaric actions by his security details in a democratic setting like ours.

    “We hereby condemn that shameful video in its totality and give Governor Umahi just 48 hours to apologize to Ebonyians over that monumental embarrassment. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and the Labour Act, Chapter L1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 otherwise referred to as; (“Labour Act”) clearly prescribe how an errant civil servant should be disciplined in line with global best practices that meets the International Labour Organization’s standards.

    “The law does not permit in any way or form for a uniformed officer to lay hands on a civil servant no matter the offense simply on the orders of anyone, not even the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We hereby call on the Nigerian military top hierarchy to withdraw and discipline the soldiers who participated in this unholy and highly unprofessional conducts.

    The Labour Union also alleged that the Personal Assistant to the Commissioner for Infrastructure Development and Concession, Chief Romanus Nwasum, and his official driver have been arrested and put in detention for recording that viral video and called on the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali, to order the State’s Commissioner of Police to unconditionally release them to their families and loved ones.

    “Moreso, the Ebonyi State’s Chapter of NLC has it on good authority that the Personal Assistant to the Honourable Commissioner for Infrastructure Development and Concession, Chief Romanus Nwasum and his official driver have both been arrested and put in detention for recording that viral video.

    “NLC equally condemns this unlawful conduct in a democracy and calls on the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman to order the State’s Commissioner of Police to unconditionally release them to their families and loved ones. For we do not see any crime that was also committed by these ones in an era of citizens journalism,” the statement concluded.

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