Written by Ayo Ayodeji Monday, 21 March 2011 00:48
In the mornings of February 5 2011, Comrade Yusuf Ajibola, received unusual visitors who turnout to be police officers from the notorious Panti Police Station, Yaba. This is the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Homicide unit. Their mission was to search his apartment and arrest him based on a petition from the National President of National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non Metallic Products Employee, NUCFRLANMPE, Isok Biniface.
Isok Biniface apart from been the National President of the chemical workers’ union, is now the National Treasurer of the NLC.
Com. Yusuf Ajibola was a worker with OM Ltd, a chairman of the factory’s unit of the chemical union, NUCFRLANMPE, and also a former treasurer of the Lagos State council of the union.
The comrade played a major role in the workers’ struggle against corrupt leaders in the union 2005, some five years ago. That struggle led to the removal of several prominent leaders of the union. That leadership crudely embezzled millions of naira and sold out workers on countless occasions. Comrade Yusuf was part of the audit committee set up by workers to audit the accounts of the union. The work of the committee was quite revealing.
Apart from been part of the auditors, he played a major role in the workers struggle within the union and stood up in defense of workers’ interests generally.
However, since the Isok Biniface leadership emerged in 2005 nothing has actually changed within the union. This provoked complaints within the union. Again, several allegations of corruption rent the air to the extent that there are several petitions against the Isok leadership with the EFCC. Com Yusuf happens to be one of the workers involved in raising very critical questions on the state of the union, questions bordering on the union’s funds and the high cost of wages and allowances for top union officers.
Top union officers now ride top brand SUV jeeps, live like kings, etc, while they compromise the interests of the rank and file workers they represent.
Within the past four years, there had been a policy of victimizing union activists who question the privileges and methods of the leadership. Several elected union leaders have been sacked, and factory units completely closed. The hands of the national leadership are clearly seen in all these attacks.
Arrest and Detention
The arrest and harassment of Yusuf is part of the conscious policy to silence all those opposed the current state of affairs in the union. Several NUCFRLANMPE union activists have passed through this ugly road.
The police officers that came to his apartment on Feb 5 were constantly in touch with Isok via phone. He was arrested and all his mobile phones were seized. He was then taken to Panti and detained until Monday 7 when he was granted bail. His phones were released 5 days later.
However, he is to report to Panti every order day of the week.
NUCFRLANMPE President’s ‘Petition’
The police said they acted on the petition of the Isok Boniface. He alleged that he had receiving death and kidnap threats via text messages and he is of the opinion that they were sent by Yusuf. He claimed that Yusuf is a drug addict and he sent hired assassins to kill him.
This petition is quite libelous and malicious. It is highly unfortunate that a union leader would degenerate to the level of using the police to harass.
These allegations are blatant lies and can never be substantiated.
Stop Police Harassment
For an independent NUCFRLANMPE members investigation of the issue