BY ARCHIBONG EYO, CALABAR – The Labour Movement in Cross River State has been thrown into a serious confusion following the alleged kidnap of the state Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ben Ukpepi, on Tuesday night.
Amidst huge concerns and anxiety trailing the ugly development, the State NLC Secretariat, hitherto a beehive of activities, has suddenly become like a ghost town with the place currently under lock and key.
When our correspondent visited the NLC Secretariat at 100 Marian Road, Calabar on Wednesday and early on Thursday, no official of Congress was accessible to comment on developments in the last 48 hours.
However, the State Police Command has been forthcoming with assurances that investigations are already on to locate and rescue the missing Labour leader.
According to the State Police Command, which confirmed the incident, some unknown persons kidnapped Comrade Ukpepi, at his residence inside the popular CROSPIL (Cross River State Property Development Investment Limited) Estate in Akpabuyo Local Government Area
Spokesperson of the Command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Irene Ugbo, said the NLC chairman was whisked away at about 7:30pm on Tuesday by suspected kidnappers.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Wednesday that “The story of the kidnap of the NLC chairman is true. He was kidnapped at Akpabuyo in his home.
“We got the report this morning. The Anti-cultism and Kidnapping Unit are on top of the situation to rescue him,” Ugbo said.
A source close to the family, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN on the phone that the NLC chairman was making a call in his residence when his abductors stormed the house to take him away.
“His family has been calling his line, but it has been switched off since last night and his abductors have not called or made any demand up till now,” the source said.
Our sources further hinted that this unfortunate development has now thrown spanners into the Congress’ plans to take a position on the State government’s payment of new national minimum wage.
The NLC National headquarters recently directed all State chapters of Congress to open up discussions and agree with their respective State governments on modalities for applying the new salary structure before December 2019 ending. – With agency reports