Persons suspected to be thugs and cultists have invaded Owerri, the Imo state capital on the orders of the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
This, it was learnt, was to counter the planned protest against the sacking of thousands of workers from 19 parastatals, agencies and departments in the state by the governor last month by the Organized Labour, who would storm the statetomorrow, Wednesday from across the country.
The invasion of the youths followed the determination by the workers to carry out its threat of launching a showdown against the state government over the sack with a three-day warning strike scheduled to begin Wednesday.
According to investigations by 247ureports.com, strange youths suspected to be cultists and thugs from the neighbouring states of Rivers, Anambra and Abia states have stormed the state to assist stop the protesting workers from grounding the state.
Already,the governor last weekend mobilized over 3000 youths made up of students, Keke operators and others and doled out the sum of N25million which was shared to the youths N5000 each.
In the said meeting, Okorocha at the Nick Banquet Hall in Government House, urged the youths especially Keke operators not to join in the strike. This led the groups especially the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW and National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, to dissociate themselves from the strike.
In the meeting, Okorocha pleaded with street traders and traders in the Owerri Main Market as well Mechani Villages in Orji and Nekede that he had for now rescinded his decision to force them out.
“I asked you street traders to leave the streets so that we would organize this state to be admirable to all, but since you said you are not ready, we will not force. Also Mechanics and traders at Eke Ukwu Owerri, we will not compel you to evacuate if you are not ready yet because this government is a people-oriented government”, Okorcha said.
Meanwhile, medical workers have since grounded the public health system in the state with a three-day warning strike. This followed an alleged shooting of a medical doctor who was involved in a protest against the anti-life policies of the Okorocha-led government.
It would be recalled that a member of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) Imo State branch participating in one daydemonstration against the concessioning of public health institutions by Governor Rochas Okorocha was last Thursday shut in the head.
The victim, Dr Bede Azudialor, a consultant family physician with the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri was allegedly shot in the head by anti-riot policemen drafted to monitor the demonstrating by the doctors by the government.
The State Chairman of the Nigerian Guild of Doctors Dr. Darlington Akukwu who briefed Newsmen on the incident in Owerri immediately announced commencement of a three-day warning strike by doctors in the state.
“ Following the shooting of our member, doctors in Imo state will from today commence a three-day warning strike during which the Nigerian Police Force must named the policeman that shut at our member.
“The warning strike beginning from Feb.4 will last for three days and if after the expiration of three days, the person who shot at our colleague fails to come out, doctors will start indefinite strike action’’, Dr Akukwu said.
He called on the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase to compel the commissioner of police in the state Taiwo Lakanu to produce the culprit who perpetrated the act.
NMA also pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to thoroughly investigate the matter as well.