By Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
The strike declared by the labour unions in Ekiti State to press for the payment of five months outstanding salaries by the state government has turned bloody, as the Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees, Com. Kayode Charles, was beaten to stupor by suspected thugs.
Charles, who is the chairman of NULGE in Efon Local Government, said he was allegedly beaten on Thursday on the instruction of the Council boss, Mr . Bolaji Jeje, while trying to enforce compliance with the strike in the council.
While explaining how the scenario to newsmen on Friday, Charles alleged that the council boss allegedly invaded his house with about 19 thugs and beat him up for allegedly ordering that the gate of the council should be closed.
He said : “We were at the gate of the Council with my Secretary and we saw it opened and I had to order the security man to close it because we were on strike. We instructed that the gate be closed and that was the order we got from NULGE Chairman in Ekiti Com. Bunmi Ajimoko.
“After the closure of the gate, I went back to my house that was located within the vicinity, just a stone throw to the place. The Chairman brought about 19 thugs and broke the gate to my house. I had to scale the fence , despite they still pursued me and beat me up.
“As I speak with you, I am in a Clinic in Efon Alaaye where I am receiving medical attention. After the beating, I was hospitalized at a private hospital in Ado Ekiti.
“The Divisional Police Officer in the council was at the scene, but he could not make any arrest. He was watching helplessly . He was even the one that rescued me from the thugs and took me to the police station, so I could make my statement.
“But I didn’t make statement because I fell down as I was about to write and I was rushed to the hospital”.
Charles further disproved the allegation that he was the one who authorised the closure of the council, saying the security did it as part of his job.
The Council boss, who reacted via telephone, dispelled the allegation that he ordered the beating of labour man, saying he left the council in frustration after he was prevented from entering by the NULGE executive.
“I didn’t order that he should be beaten up. I also want to say that the NULGE boss was only trying to sensationalise the issue, because I had to leave the council with my Director of Administration, Secretary and Treasurer, after getting instruction from Governor Ayodele Fayose to ignore him, because I told the governor that I was prevented from entering to do my work.
“It was my D.A that called me to report that the gate was locked. All I said was that I am not an administrative staff of the council. I am a political head and I cannot be part of the strike. If workers were on strike, I am not on strike and under no circumstance should I be prevented from work.
“Why should I order his beating after I had gotten instruction from Governor Fayose to leave the scene? It pains me that a mere driver in the council , who just won election three months ago could be causing this trouble .
“When he was contesting, I ensured that the gang up against him didn’t work because he is not from Efon Local Government. I ensured a level playing ground and he won the election.
“Charles has been riding motorcycle around the town and could anybody that had been beaten be doing this? I want to say again that I didn’t order that the NULGE boss should be manhandled” he said.