PORT HARCOURT— Queues have surfaced in some filling stations in Port
Harcourt, Rivers State, following a directive by the Eastern Zone of Nigeria
Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, to its members in
the state to suspend loading and distribution of products.
Chairman of the union, Mr Godwin Eruba, said members took the action to
protest alleged police harassment of its members at the premises of an oil
firm, Weatherford Nigeria Limited.
He said members were picketing the firm over labour related issues when
policemen allegedly started molesting the union members.
Similarly, national industrial officer of NUPENG, Mr. Bassey Harry, said the
strike which commenced yesterday, would only be suspended when the
police officers who harassed the union members were made to face the law.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has expressed support for
NUPENG’s action, saying the Rivers State Government, Commissioner of
Police and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, should step in to
resolve the crisis.
State Chairman of TUC, Mr Chika Unuegbu, said it was shocked that the
Police could be so ruthless over a labour related issue.
The Police on its part denied that its men harassed members of the union.
Police spokesman in the state, DSP Ahmad Muhammad, said the Police only
made effort to assist bailiffs/officials to enforce a court verdict from the
National Industrial Court, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State.
DSP Muhammad explained in a statement that the court officials requested
the assistance of the Police, adding that the police merely ensured that
there was no break down of law and order while the bailiffs and court
officials went about their assignments.