By Shola AmodemajaÂ
The shooting of a Medical Doctor by an armed police man during a peaceful protest by members of the Nigeria Medical Association in Owerri represents a big minus for the police force
that claims credit for reform on the one hand, and a rising degree of intolerance for alternative view point by the government of Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Sequel to the development, Nigeria Labour Congress has condemned the bestial and despicable act in its entirety. Even in wars without rules, Medical Doctors and other Health Workers enjoy the singular distinction of protection and preservation by combatants on either side, it emphasised.
For the police to therefore fire live ammunition at peacefully-protesting doctors asking for their legitimate rights runs counter to any known rule of engagement. But the shooting of this Medical Doctor who is lying critically ill, is not an isolated case but part of a growing terror culture instituted by Governor Okorocha.
NLC stated â€œIn the past two weeks alone, his armed militia had beaten a Medical Doctor at Uboma Hospital to a state of coma as well as brutalized several others. His militia, given coverÂ Â byÂ Â the state Police Command, funded and armed by workersâ€™ taxes, have embarked on a campaign of brutalisation and dehumanization against workers as they (Militia and Police) forcefully sought to enforce the closure of 19 government parastatals whose sale or privatisation was announced on the radio the previous day.
â€œThe use of the armed police and militia against law-abiding workers by the Governor of Imo State is unlawful, immoral and betrays the principles of democracy and should be resisted by all. If this culture isÂ Â allowed to stand in Imo State, we all stand at great risk,Â Â in light of the famous saying, â€œWhen they came for the Jewsâ€¦â€¦â€.
NLC has therefore demanded that the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force not only immediately bring to book, this trigger-happy police man but weed from its ranks all characters undeserving of the police uniform.
â€œWe find it necessary to state that it was only Monday, February 1, 2016 we had written to the Inspector-General of Police alerting him to the sinister plan by Governor Okorocha to deal with workers after getting away with previous acts of â€œbrutalization and inflicment of severe injuries on a number of workersâ€.Â
â€œWe must warn that if no appropriate action is taken against the Governor and his band of maurading militia and procured police personnel, in the well- known principle of self defence, we shall respond in our own time. Our calm and deference to the rule of law should not be mistaken as cowardice. Workers, like any other group of Nigerians, have rights guaranteed by the lawâ€ the labour movement warned.