The Enugu state government has again faulted claims by the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) that it was responsible for the current incarceration of labour activist Osmond Ugwu saying that such claims were ill-informed and unfounded.
The government was reacting to a report in a national daily in which the leadership of the CLO in neighbouring Anambra State accused the government of being behind Ugwu’s current travails in order to stop his “unrelenting quest to ensure better living conditions for workers in the state”.
A release signed by Chukwudi Achife, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor Sullivan Chime, said the government was appalled at the way the organization misrepresented facts relating to Ugwu’s incarceration adding that it had also made references and comparisons that were unfounded both in fact and logic in an apparent attempt to castigate it.
Achife noted that Ugwu was being remanded in prison with respect to a case he has with the police authorities in Enugu and not the state government adding that the charge of attempted murder arose from the accused person’s alleged attack on a police officer that had resulted in severe injuries to the latter.
The Governor’s spokesman wondered how such a case could be said to be said to have been engineered by the state government when the accused person has the opportunity to prove his innocence in court.
He emphasized that the order to remand Ugwu in prison custody was made by a court of law and not by the state government adding that anyone who wanted to challenge its propriety should do so before the court rather than resorting to the blackmail of an innocent party.
The release said the government held in the CLO in high esteem and expected that it would have taken time to investigate matters properly before making declarations that could not be sustained.
On the issue of Ugwu’s dismissal from the civil service, Achife said it was a matter that the CLO or any other interested party could ascertain from the state Civil Service Commission which is the only body that has statutory authority over the employment and dismissal of civil servants.
He noted that since such actions affected the rights of an individual, it would be more sensible for the individual to seek redress in court if he considered it irregular or unjustified, rather than trying to raise unnecessary sentiments of the pages of newspapers.
Achife stressed that the current state government had notably remained consistent in its submission to the rule of law and has exhibited an uncommon interest in the improvement of the welfare of workers.
He added that the recall of over 5,000 workers disengaged by its predecessor which the CLO acknowledged in the report, was one of the earliest and more significant demonstrations of that disposition.