Crisis rock Ibadan-based Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria as workers protest naked
Crisis rocking the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, CRIN, Idi Ayunre, Ibadan, yesterday assumed another dimension, as hundreds of workers took to the Ibadan-Ijebu-Ode road, protesting the director’s alleged maladministration.
The women, who were almost naked with their male counterparts, chanting anti-management songs despite the presence of the police, which did not stop them from their agitation, even became more so with police presence.
The protesting workers also barricaded the main entrance to the institute with loads of sand and log of wood hangers on which they inscribed various messages that reflected their agitation.
They were also supported by some community leaders and youth, who shared their feelings and joined them in their demands.
The protesting workers, who were infuriated by the arrival of armed policemen and a pay loader to remove the barricades, also accused the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade, of conniving with the institute’s director to suppress their rightful demands.
A statement jointly signed by the Baale of Odo Ona Nla, Chief Yekeen Ogunyode, and Comrade Solomon Adebiyo and made available to journalists, reads: “We, the entire workers of the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan, and members of the host communities decry and condemn in entirety the decision of the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade, to use brutal force to suppress and repress the ongoing legitimate agitation of CRIN workers against years of despotic and draconian rule of Prof. Malachy O. Akoroda, the executive director of the institute.
But the Area Commander of Idi Ayunre Police Command who led officers to the scene of the protest, while speaking with journalists, said they were at the scene to maintain peace and order. “We are aware of their agitation; but it is our duty to ensure their protest did not turn violent.”
Chief Ogunyode and other community leaders who spoke with journalists said they pitched their tent with the workers, because “we have made several attempts to ensure this matter is settled but the director did not listen and we cannot continue to fold our arms and watch this institute rot or taken away from our land; most of our people are there; we want peace and I think peace cannot return to this place until Akoroda is removed.”
All efforts to speak with Akoroda were rebuffed as he said he is not permitted to speak on the issue based on the civil service rule. “ I cannot speak on this issue except with the express permission of the permanent secretary,’’ he said.
This story was first published by National Mirror