By Dipo Awojobi – The crisis rocking the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) took a new turn last week, when the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Erase reportedly ordered the arrest of leaders of the National Union of Banks, Insurance Companies, and Financial Institution Employees (NUBIFIE) on an alleged document falsification.
According to the National President of NUBIFIE, Comrade (Dr.) Danjuma Musa, who spoke with our correspondent on the phone, men of the Nigerian Police from Alagbon Division stormed the Yaba, Lagos office of the union on Wednesday, and arrested some of their leaders including the General Secretary, Comrade Mohammed I Sheikh, Comrade Etim E Okon, Comrade AbdulRasheed Lukman, and Comrade Sola Aboderin and took them away to Alagbon Police Station.
While narrating their ordeal, the National President said, “what happened was that before now, we supposed to have held our delegate conference, which would have produced a new set of executive members, but the Ibo’s ganged up to say that if we hold it now, there was every possibility that as a northerner, I might return as the President, so they decided to tribalise the issue.
“They came up with a frivolous petition filed by one Barr. Nna Okechukwu, an Ibo man, who used to be a union member of NUBIFIE in conjunction with his wife, also an Ibo woman, who happens to be an Assistant Commissioner of Police, she has been using her office as a police officer to arrest, and harass our members, therefore destabilising the activities of the union.
“They came up with a petition last year, alleging fraud by our union and we went to court to challenge them to prove the allegations. We filed a counter affidavit, but they said that somebody impersonated the President in the counter affidavit we filed. As I speak, the matter is still in court, so they went and got a warrant of arrest on March 6, and waited till Wednesday March 23rd to come and arrest and detain all of us, including myself as the president with a plan to keep us away from the secretariat knowing fully well that Friday and Monday were public holidays so that they could come and take over the office.
“Its purely an evil agenda, but I tactically escaped. What we are getting now is that the whole thing is not unconnected with the current crisis in the NLC because NUBIFIE is a strong supporter of Comrade Joe Ajaero. So they said that they came to arrest us on the order of the Inspector General of Police. I don’t know, when Police became union members of NUBIFIE to be meddling in union matters.
“All these are just because somebody’s wife is an Assistant Commissioner of Police. As I speak, my people are still in police custody at Alagbon since Wednesday,” the President explained.
Meanwhile, when our correspondent and other journalists got to Alagbon police station on Friday to hear from men of the police, they were prevented from going in by the policemen on duty, who said that “today is a public holiday nobody will talk to press today.”
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