By Ibrahim Adeleke
The National President of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Comrade Innocent Bola Audu has explained the rationale behind the sealing of the national secretariat of the union.
It was gathered that the union had in the last few weeks been enmeshed in series of crisis.
It would be recalled that some officials of the union had been accused of involving in a N10 billion fraud which made some members to staged protest at the national secretariat of the union in Lagos.
Following the protest, the secretariat was locked by the police as a result of the protests.
The national President of the union, Comrade Innocent Bola Audu has however explained the rationale behind the sealing of the national secretariat.
Audu in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday said the national secretariat was sealed by the police to avoid breakdown of law and order.
He added that the secretariat was sealed till further notice due to threats and unruly behaviour of some members among whom are a former secretary of the union, Comrade Alade Bashir Lawal.
Audu, while speaking further, said the behaviour of Lawal and some of the former executive members of the union who had been alleged in the fraud prompted the police to seal the national secretariat.
He added that the national secretariat was sealed so as to douse tension and avoid bloodshed.
Audu insisted that the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State was also directed by the Inspector General of Police to provide security in the Secretariat to ensure no breakdown of law and order.
He said: “The truth remains that the Secretariat was sealed by his threats and unruly behaviour before the Police Commissioner to avoid break down of law and order and guarantee peace in the environment.
“The fact of the matter is that, Mr. Alade Bashir Lawal and his partners were reported to the police for suspected fraud of monumental proportion and mismanagement of the union’s finance and resources.
“On the basis of the complaint, the Inspector General of Police directed the Force CID to investigate the criminal allegations and the petition by the union’s President, Comrade Innocent Bola-Audu.
“The Commissioner of Police Lagos was also directed by the IGP to provide security in the Secretariat to ensure no breakdown of law and order, and in order to prevent the suspects in the case from tampering with evidence materials that may be needed in police investigations.
“To douse tension and avoid bloodshed, the Area Commander of Area “C” Police, Surulere, Lagos , ACP Adedeji Adefolarin, upon arriving at the scene and noticing the violent resistance Mr. Lawal, the prime suspect in the matter under criminal investigation by the FCID had put at the Secretariat, asked Mr. Lawal and his partners to join him and Comrade Innocent Bola-Audu, the Union’s president to also come along with his team and everybody was asked to accompany the Area Commander to the Police Commissioner’s office.
“At the meeting in Commissioner’s office, Mr. Lawal became uncontrollable as he did not allow the Union’s president to state his own side of the story. Even the Commissioner’s intervention that the police is neutral and will ensure law and order is maintained did not assuage Mr. Lawal.
“He rudely told the Commissioner of Police that as a Unionist “he is not bound by any law”.
“And the Commissioner in apparent response to Mr. Lawal’s conduct of lawlessness ordered that the Secretariat be shut and everyone, except tenants in the complex be escorted out to maintain peace, law and order in the environment.
It was the workers whose contributions he had frittered away and paid himself N140,000,000.00 as entitlements that Mr. Lawal referred to as hoodlums in his press release.
“Members of the Union from Lagos and other neighbouring states were on hand with placards in solidarity with the union president.
Recall that in compliance with the order of the IGP, the Commissioner of police had directed the Area Commander of ‘Area C’ police command in Surulere to provide police security at the Secretariat.
“The Area Commander, ACP Adedeji Adefolarin deployed police patrol vehicles to the secretariat to maintain Law and order. On arrival it was observed that Mr. Lawal had ordered the access gate to be locked and no one should be allowed into the complex.
“Even the presence of the Area Commander, an Assistant Commissioner of Police in uniform leading the team did not matter to Mr. Lawal who insisted that the Police should not be allowed in. It took the timely intervention of the D.P.O. of Sabo Division before the suspect (Mr. Lawal) allowed the Area Commander into the complex.
“Our members were at the Secretariat with placards in solidarity with the elected president and mandate holder of the union, Comrade Innocent Bola-Audu. They are not hoodlums; these were Senior Civil Servants from Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States. Mr. Lawal is being hunted by the ghost of his evil manipulations and activities in the Union against the members and his employers.”