C’River gov’t reads riot acts to Wilmar attackers

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The government of Cross River state has vowed to deal decisively with those who allegedly attacked and wounded workers of the Singaporean multinational firm, Wilmar, in Akamkpa, advising the attackers to give themselves up or be fished out by force.

The State Security Adviser (SSA) South, Chief Ani Esin, said this during stakeholders meeting with Wilmar’s land lord communities, representatives of the International Association of Plantation Farm Labourers (IAPFL), Nigeria Labour Congress, security agencies and other stakeholders, at the weekend.

Recall that people suspected to be members of International Association of Plantation Farm Labourers (IAPFL) in Wilmar plantation had allegedly attacked Wilmar’s workers and security men and destroyed the company’s assets in Mbarakom community over a labour-related disagreement with the management of the company. Wilmar’s representative in the meeting, Asen Ako, said the company had shut down over fears of lost of lives and assets.

The development however, attracted condemnation from the Calabar-based administration which described the attackers as miscreants who should be taught a lesson.

During the meeting, the NLC as well as Chiefs and leaders of Mbarakom community had distanced themselves from activities of the association members.

Speaking, Chief Esin restated the commitment of government to the protection of workers and assets of the company and demanded that the Head of Department of the association, Comrade Ayebi Festus, should produce IAPFL executive in Wilmar, failure of which, he said, the law enforcement agencies would be asked to fish out both the executive and the attackers for the law to take its course.

“I have always said that the government of Cross River state has zero tolerance for criminalities and insecurity. Servicemen who stepped in to restore order became victims. We shall ensure those miscreants are fished out and punished to serve as deterrent to others.

“Why take the laws into your own hands as if we are in a lawless society? The government of His Excellency, Prof Ben Ayade will not accept such level of rascality on a lawful company. When such development occurs, if it is not handled on time, it could snowball into something very serious,” he stated.

Also speaking, member representing Akamkpa/Biase federal constuency in the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Daniel Asuquo, said the association itself is not recognized by law and wondered why such group should have the boldness to foment the type of trouble it was accused of.

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