Police arrested and handcuffed two Ogun State workers Tuesday as a strike embarked upon by the state’s civil servants entered day two.
The workers were arrested as union leaders converged to monitor full compliance with the strike, at the entrance of the Oke-Mosan secretariat which houses the governor’s office and state assembly.
The government had on Monday night, through the secretary to the state government, Adeoluwa Taiwo, threatened to sanction workers who failed to resume duties.
Union leaders, who made efforts to monitor workers’ compliance, were hindered by the police.
The Secretary to the State Government, Adeoluwa Taiwo, who later arrived the scene and addressed workers, ordered the release of the arrested workers.
The chairman of Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council, Abiodun Olakanmi, later told journalists that workers would not be intimidated by the threat to return to work.
Mr. Olakanmi, accompanied by Akeem Ambali (chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress) and Olubunmi Fajobi (chairman, Trade Union Congress), said the threat of sanction by the government, should be ignored.
Mr. Olakanmi urged workers to disregard all effort by the government to intimidate them, insisting that the strike would continue till further notice.
“The JNC states hereby categorically that all machinations of the state government to intimidate workers and coerce them to submission and servitude be disregarded. Under no condition would the organized labour in the state submit to cheap propaganda being peddled by the government,” he declared.
“It should be mentioned that until the government remit all deductions from workers’ salaries that there is no going back. The JNC therefore call on workers to reject out rightly the threatening message being circulated by the state government directing workers to report to work. You are advised to keep calm and stay at home until the strike is called off by labour leaders in the state.”
The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo, in an interview with journalists, denied any form of maltreatment on the part of the police, saying the workers leadership were trying to blackmail police after realising that the strike was a failure.
He declared that the government may have to apply no-work, no-pay rule, if the workers refused to return to work.