The Enugu State Government has dismissed as laughable and mischievous, claims by a purported human rights body that it was behind the current travails of one Osmond Ugwu who is currently facing charges in court for attempted murder.
The government also dismissed the threat reportedly made by the group to “make Enugu State ungovernable” if Ugwu was not released from prison custody within one week as uninformed and ill thought.
A release signed by Chukwudi Achife, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sullivan Chime, said that the tone of the claims and the threats made by the group as published in a national daily newspaper, confirmed its suspicions that the labour issues in the state were being sponsored and orchestrated by some disgruntled elements trying to create a false impression of crisis in Enugu State.
He said that even the most uninformed person would know that a criminal trial was a matter totally within the domain of the judiciary and that an order to remand or release an accused person in or from prison custody can only be made by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Achife said that even though the group mentioned in the report remained faceless and amorphous, it was still important to observe that a demand that the state government should release someone who has been remanded by a court of Law, can only stem from either ignorance of judicial processes or a mischievous intent of the person making the demand.
He noted that the concomitant demand by the said group for the Governor to give an account of his stewardship within one week and the reflection of similar comments made by a defeated gubernatorial candidate in the same story, clearly confirms the sinister motives of the people behind it.
Achife also said that the continued reference to the minimum wage as a cause even when it had been paid in Enugu State since August, was an indication that those behind the attempt to use it to create disaffection against the state government, had woefully failed.
He said, “It is amazing that people who claim to be human rights activists will be asking the executive arm of the government to take over the functions of the judiciary. The rule of law obviously means nothing to them. It has always been clear to government that some persons having no other way to blackmail it, have sought albeit unsuccessfully to use a non-existent minimum wage issue to cause disaffection against the government. Even people who do not belong to any Labour Union are now described as labour leaders”.
Achife restated Governor Chime’s commitment to securing the welfare of workers and to the establishment of a functional public service, adding that no amount of threat, blackmail or political intrigues can distract him from his commitment to the transformation of Enugu State.