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NLC accuses police of bias, NPF denies claim

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The Nigeria Labour Congress has accused the police of taking side with one of the factions in the crisis rocking the leadership of the National Union of Road Transport Workers.

The NLC in a statement on Friday by its Acting President, Kabiru Minjibir, claimed that while democratically elected leaders of the NURTW were being detained, the other parties had been discreetly released.

The NLC expressed sadness over the violence at the national secretariat of the NURTW, saying “The NLC is also alarmed by the police’s handling of the matter. Our investigations suggest undue favouritism by the state in enforcing peace. We are perturbed to learn that the democratically elected leaders of the union are being detained while the other parties have been discreetly released. Justice demands equal treatment in conflicts of this nature.

“We urgently call upon police authorities to promptly release the democratically elected union leaders from detention and conduct a fair investigation into the violence. Our nation cannot afford to entertain any semblance of impunity or bias, especially at this critical juncture. Let us refrain from exacerbating an already precarious situation with actions that may be construed as partiality towards illegality.”

The NLC in the statement said it held the state and the police accountable for what it termed their inaction and unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of the union, adding that established statutory avenues for resolution exist and should have been followed, but that it appeared authorities were disinclined to adhere to them.

Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory police command has denied allegations of bias in its arrest of rioting factions of the NURTW in Abuja on Tuesday.

The spokesperson for the FCT Police Command, SP Josephine Adeh, who spoke with our correspondent in a telephone interview on Friday night, stated that the police made arrests in relation to those found in connection with criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and public disturbance during the riot, without taking sides.

Adeh stated, “The police were not biased in their arrest of suspects. Arrests were made based on the charges of criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and public disturbance levelled against them. They caused breakdown of law and order, and the police were deployed to restore peace, and that was when they were arrested.”