The newly appointed Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Chris Ezike, and the state chapter of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, have agreed to cooperate with each other in order to promote security of lives and property in the state.
The agreement followed a meeting on Wednesday in Port Harcourt following a recent ultimatum by the TUC to the Police Command to improve security of lives and property in the state.
In its message to Mr. Ezike, following his recent redeployment to the state, the TUC drew his attention to the spate of criminality in the state, namely kidnapping, armed robbery, oil theft and pipeline vandalism and wanton destruction of lives and property.
The message by the Chairman of the State Congress, Hyginus Onuegbu, and Secretary, Jonas Okere, gave the new state police boss a 14-day ultimatum to improve security of lives and properties in the state as the situation had reached an unprecedented level.
“As you are aware, Rivers State is the treasure base of the nation and the centre of oil and gas operation in Nigeria,” the TUC said. “Unfortunately, many workers and residents of the State have been kidnapped, killed, attacked and maimed with impunity in recent times without any effective action by the security agents to curb this ugly trend.
”The situation is so bad that many of my members now live in fear and are actively seeking for transfers out of Rivers State,” the TUC added.
Following media reports on the letter, the Commissioner convened a meeting with the State Executive of the TUC and officials of affiliate organisations, including the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) and Nigeria Union of Allied Health Professionals (NUAHP), Senior Staff Association of Communications.
Other groups invited to meeting included Transport and Corporations (SSACTAC), Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institute and Associated Institutions (SSAUTHRIA), Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers And Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA), Construction and Civil Engineering Senior Staff Association (CCESSA),National Association of Community Health Practitioners of Nigeria (NACHP).
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Ezike described the meeting as “very fruitful”, assuring the unions that the Rivers State Police Command was “working assiduously to improve security of lives and property in Rivers State”.
While soliciting the support of organized labour in the state to cooperate with the police, the CP informed the Unions of some of the successes recorded by the State Police Command since his assumption of duty, adding that his men were willing to sustain the momentum.
Following the agreement by both parties to partner and collaborate, the TUC in the State reciprocated by agreeing to withdraw the ultimatum.