THE SACK OF 95 CRIN WORKERS: management defies court order to re-open accommodations of the victimiz
THE SACK OF 95 CRIN WORKERS: management defies court order to re-open accommodations of the victimized workers.
End Attacks on Democratic Rights Workers Now!
For Immediate and unconditional recall of victimized workers
A call for solidarity action
By Abbey Trotsky
Since the sack of 95 workers of Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, by Prof. Akoroda-led management on 24th and 27th of January 2014, the Oyo State Chapter of Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR), one of the campaign platforms of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), in collaboration with the committee of the sacked workers has been organizing one form of activities or the other to build up pressure and support for the campaign for unconditional reinstatement of the sacked workers.
As a result of these activities, the Federal Government (FG) was forced sometime around March 2014 to set up a Presidential penal of inquiry through the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government to investigate the cause of the crisis in CRIN and recommend ways through which peace and order would be restored in the institute.
After so much delay, the panel eventually started its work which lasted between Wednesday 9th and Friday 11th, July, 2014. Within this short period allocated for this inquiry, thousands of petitions were submitted from various categories of CRIN workers and management staff as well as verbal presentation by members of the community. Unfortunately, since this panel completed its work, the FG has failed to make report of the panel public let alone its implementation. The attitude of the FG is not surprising! Right from the outset, CDWR did not have any illusion that the panel will resolve the industrial dispute in CRIN in the interest of justice without a sustained political pressure and agitations from mass of CRIN workers.
This was the situation during the IAR&T 11 months workers’ struggle that eventually led to the removal of the then executive director of the institute. During this struggle two different panels were set up on behalf of the FG after so many months of consistent struggles to investigate workers allegation of misappropriation of huge sum of N177, 571,609.50 leveled against the then Prof. Ogunbodede-led administration of the institute. The first panel was set up by the Management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife, and the second by the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) which are the administrative and financial supervisory agencies of the institute respectively.
Unfortunately, both the OAU and ARCN consciously refused to implement the panel recommendation for the indicted management staff to appear and for the mismanaged funds to be refunded. Instead, they continued to shield Prof. Ogunbodede from justice until the sustained mass struggle of workers in the institute forced them to remove Prof. B.A Ogunbodede as the Director of the institute, though without refunding the misappropriated N177, 571,609.50.
Without similar mass political agitation to complement the ongoing legal action instituted against the arbitrary sack of the 95 CRIN workers by the national secretariat of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), one of the proscribed unions in the institute, there is high tendency that Prof. Akoroda will continue to be emboldened and draconian by the day. The glimpse of this was the recent arrest of four of the 95 sack workers by Police on November 14, 2014 at the behest of the Prof. Akoroda-led management because they returned to their staff houses in line with a court order. The arrest of four of the sacked workers is absolutely condemnable because it represents a flagrant disobedience of the court order.
Already, CRIN has been turned into a slave camp where freedom of association and discussion is prohibited and threatened. Things are so bad that, workers are even given query for not greeting the Director! Civil Defense officers’ permanently stationed in the institute slap and beat workers with impunity. Between January and September, Mrs. Tessy Otunoye, the Chairperson of the illegally proscribed Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) in the institute who is also the coordinator of CDWR, CRIN branch has been given no fewer than eight (8) different queries.
In view of all these continuous attacks on CRIN workers which obviously and increasingly raise the need to step up more serious political agitation to complement the legal battle, CDWR has officially written a letter to the national secretariat of NASU. We have call on the union to kick start the process of mobilizing all their branches in Oyo and Ogun State towards holding a mass action in CRIN.
In light of this, we hereby solicit solidarity actions locally and internationally from pro-working people organizations, trade unions, socialists, activists and youths to demand the immediate recall of the victimized workers and an end to attacks on democratic rights of workers in CRIN. This can be done either by organizing activities like mass protest actions or sending protest messages to the following numbers and e-mail adds: