Abuja – The National Union of Postal and Telecommunication Employees (NUPTE) has accused the police of preventing its members from protesting against their forced disengagement by Airtel.
Mr Dele Adegbite, the Secretary of NUPTE, who on Friday in Abuja led the workers on another round of protest, said that the police fired canisters of teargas to disperse the disengaged workers from protesting against their sack by Airtel.
Adegbite, in Abuja, accused the police of “ being used to subvert the course of justice’’.
He, nonetheless, vowed that the workers’ demonstration would continue, saying: “Nigerians cannot be colonised again; the Nigeria Police must be called to order.’’
Mr Shola Lawal, one of the sacked workers, said that the police dispersed the protesting workers with teargas, even theough their protest was a non-violent one.
He alleged that a top Nigerian official of Airtel, who was insensitive to the plight of the disengaged workers, “ordered the police to deal with us.
“They threw teargas at us, even though we are not criminals. Can this happen in the U.S., Britain or even India that we are talking about?’’
Lawal saidthat they came to shut down the Airtel’s Server in Wuse II, when the police supported by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) swooped on them, firing teargas and beating some of the protesting workers.
Reacting to accusation, Mr Wilson Inalegwu, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) in the FCT police command, who led a team of police to protect Airtel’s installations at Wuse II, said that the police did not fire teargas at the protesters.
Inalegwu said that the policemen were only deployed to protect the company’s installations from being vandalised by the protesting workers, adding that they had been stationed there since Thursday.
He said that the policemen had been instructed not to exchange words with the protesters or harass them, adding that “they wanted to provoke us but we refused to be provoked.’’