By Rotimi Ojomoyela
Ado-Ekiti—Following the directive of the Head of Service of Ekiti State, Dr. Olugbenga Faseluka, yesterday, asking level 13 officers and above and those on essential services to return to work in spite of the strike, the state police command beefed up security in government offices and provided protection to workers on duty.
The police deployed Armoured Personnel Carrier and several hilux vans in the new and old governor’s offices as well as the State House of Assembly, to prevent labour leaders from gaining access to picket as witnessed earlier.
The anti-riot policemen frisked those entering and conducted thorough search on vehicles entering the government offices, particularly those at the secretariat and new governor’s office.
The labour task force, led by the Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Ade Adesanmi , in an earlier operation, led labour officials to some government offices and chased out those on duty.
Irked by the development, Faseluka had condemned the action and said extant laws prevented certain categories of workers from going on strike, describing the action as a breach of administrative regulation.
According to a statement signed on behalf of the Head of Service by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of Establishment and Training, Mr Banji Ojo, urged all accounting officers, officers on grade level 13 and above, Administrative Officers and officers on essential duties to report for duty without fear of molestation.
When called by newsmen on massive deployment of men and officers of the police, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Alberto Adeyemi, said the deployment has no connection with picketing by labour.
Adeyemi said what they did was a routine security action, which was carried out to protect government property and prevent other nefarious activities on government offices now that the workers are on strike.
“What we did was a routine security work. Workers are on strike and government property must be safe and the only way we can do this is by deploying our men to those offices. We have no sinister mission about this,” he said.
The NLC Chairman who condemned the order by Head of Service, said; “If there is any civil servant now working despite this strike, then it is a betrayal of trust. What we are fighting for is for everybody.
“We should also know that if salary is paid today, everybody will benefit regardless of the level. .So, whoever goes back to office when the strike is still on is a betrayer and this is very bad and uncalled for.”
On the police deployment, Adesanmi said; “We won’t stop the police from doing their job, but they should not also disturb us, because we are only exercising our rights.”