The police in Plateau have arrested three persons and declared 17 others wanted in connection with a workers’ protest, which led to the burning of a council secretariat in Jos.
Part of Jos East Local Government Council Secretariat was burnt during the protest by members of Council of Health Workers Union last Monday. The workers were protesting over the alleged non-payment of their two months salary arrears.
Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Mohammed Lerama, said that the police were on the trail of the 17 persons, who allegedly disappeared after the incident. Lerama said that the force was investigating the cause of the fire at the secretariat and denied insinuations that it was caused by tear-gas fired by the police.
It was alleged that the workers, under the aegis of Council of Health Workers Union, laid siege on the secretariat and vowed not to leave till their salaries were paid.
This threat prompted the Council Chairman, Mr Daniel Azi, to invite the police, who on arrival used tear gas to disperse the protesters and beat them with batons. When contacted, Azi described the burning of the secretariat as “very shocking and unfortunate”.
Azi said the way and manner in which the protesting health workers went about their demand amounted to taking the law into their hands.
“This incident will no doubt draw us back from our efforts to transform the council and give the people a feel of the dividends of democracy,” he said.
While the police has not yet released a list of the wanted persons, sources told NAN that some officials of the union were among the wanted persons.