Nigeria: Maritime union holds conference despite attack

Reposted from All-Africa.com Despite last Friday's bloody attack on their secretariat by suspected hoodlums, members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), will tomorrow hold their national delegates conference to elect a new set of officials to run the affairs of their union for the next four years.

During the attack which left four of the union's staff critically injured and 12 others sustaining various degree of injuries, the hoodlums carted away and burnt vital documents including the ones relating to the conference with an intent to frustrate it.

Though the out-going President-General of MWUN, Comrade Onikolease Irabor, told Labour Vanguard that no legible candidate had been disqualified and that even before the attack, no protest had been received against the conference, he assured that the conference would go ahead as scheduled because it is a constitutional issue.

It would be recalled that on Friday March 20th, over 50 armed hoodlums attacked the union' secretariat injuring no fewer than 16 staff and officials of the union. Four of them are still battling to survive.

Besides that, the attackers were suspected to be hired thugs.

The hoodlums who were said to have arrived the union's national secretariat around 11a.m. with guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons, smashed vehicle windscreens, windows, doors and ransacked all the offices including the account department, President-General and the General Secretary offices after shooting indiscriminately at doors and windows of the building.

Labour Vanguard gathered that but for the quick intervention of men and officials of the Nigeria Police, from Trinity Police station and a detachment of Mobil Police, there would have been loss of lives.

The hoodlums were said to have manhandled security men at the gate and inflicted injuries on many of them before smashing glass windows and doors of some of the offices.

Already the police have arrested 12 suspects including four who were caught hiding on the last floor of the four-storey building with charms and were said to be making useful statements to the police authorities.

The President General of the union, Comrade Onikolease Irabor, told Labour Vanguard that many of the union's staff escaped death by the whiskers as the attackers stormed the four-story building housing the union secretariat with double barrel guns, locally made pistols, machetes, axes and charms.

According to him: 'I can not call them anything else beside assassins, armed robbers and thieves who merely came to destroy, rob and kill innocent members of the union. Don't forget that by next week, we would have our national delegates conference and new executives would be elected to take over the affairs of the union. So these are the people that do not want the election to hold. They came to kill, maim, steal and destroy and inflict a monumental damage on our union. But thank God, they failed. Although four of our staff are battling to survive with 12 others with various degrees of injuries, nothing would stop the planned delegates conference because it is a constitutional matter. Nobody has protested against the delegates conference. Even those that have been arrested are not union members.' Relevant Links

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At the of filling this report, a dozen of gun brandishing policemen have taken over security at the secretariat, with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Trinity Police Station, physically present to take inventory of the monumental damage at the office.

Labour Vanguard gathered that activities at the nation's ports were temporarily paralysed on the day of the attack by dockworkers who were protesting the attack as many of them trooped to the union's secretariat to show solidarity to their leaders who were obviously the target.