Nigerian Unionists Detained

29th July, 2004


The State Security Services (SSS) today arrested two officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) inside the premises of the National Assembly in Abuja. They were arrested for distributing copies of the NLC’s response to the bill to the National Legislators.

The Congress officials, Mr Benson Upah, NLC Parliamentary Liaison Officer and Mr Moses Umaru of the Adminstration Department were arrested at about 1.30 p.m. and detained on the ground floor of the National Assembly before being taken to the SSS Headquarters in Abuja. The team that detained the NLC officials was led by the SSS officer-in-charge of the National Assembly.

An attempt to also arrest two other NLC officials Mr Innocent Ogwuche and Miss Jane Alabi also on the National Assembly premises failed as they escaped from the hands of their would-be captors.

The arrest of the NLC officials is a deliberate attempt by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration to intimidate the National Assembly, the NLC and Nigerians in general over his ill-conceived and anti-people bill.

President Obasanjo cannot on one hand try to ban the NLC, and the other seek to stop the NLC from carrying her case to the National Assembly.

The NLC cannot and will not be intimidated by such repressive tactics. The President and his administration must know that once they present a bill to the National Assembly, it becomes a public issue and that they cannot stop Nigerians from engaging the National Assembly on such a bill. No earthly power can stop the NLC and workers from presenting our case on the bill before the National Assembly.

The NLC demands the immediate and unconditional release of her detained officials and a public apology from President Obasanjo’s administration.

Owei Lakemfa,
Acting General Secretary

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