The lingering industrial crisis rocking the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN) in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, took on another dimension Monday morning when hundreds of workers took to the Ibadan-Ijebuode Road to protest against the poor administration of the director of CSIN, Professor Malachy O. Akoroda.
The women, who were nearly Unclad, were joined by their male counterparts who all chanted anti-management songs. The presence of the police did not deter them from their agitation, but rather seemed to strengthen them.
The workers also barricaded the main entrance of the institute with loads of sand and several wooden posts, upon which they placed placards inscribed with their various complaints and demands of CRIN’s management.
The protesting workers were angered by the arrival of armed police and a payloader to remove their barricades. They accused the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade, of conniving with Professor Akorada to suppress their right to protest. They were also supported by community leaders and youth who joined the protest.
A paper jointly signed by Chief Yekeen Ogunyode, the Baale of Odo Onanla, and Solomon Adebiyo read, “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 the ongoing and legitimate agitation of CRIN workers against the years of despotic and draconian rule of Professor Malachy O. Akoroda, the Executive Director of the institute.”
However the Commander of Idi Ayunre Police Command, who led officers to the scene of the protest, maintained 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 does not turn violent.”
The Chief Ogunyode and Mr. Adebiyo’s letter stated further that, “letters have been sent to the President Federal Republic of Nigeria and Federal House of Representatives regarding the lingering crisis in CRIN. In addition numerous petitions have been sent to the ICPC, the EFCC, the Auditor General, and Accountant General of the Federation concerning the mismanagement of funds through white elephant projects at the expense of research by Professor Akoroda.”
Despite all these efforts, Professor Akoroda has continued to intimidate, harass, and victimize all those involved in the struggle to expose his maladministration through the issuance of queries, endless warnings, open confrontations and the promotion of insubordination within CRIN.
To further complicate a bad situation he has illegally created three in-house unions to allow him to perpetrate his tyrannical rule of the institute, despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) he voluntarily signed with the Federal Ministry of Labour in Abuja.
Chief Ogunyode and other community leaders informed journalists that they stood with the workers because, “we [Community Leaders] have made several attempt to ensure this matter is settled, but Professor Akoroda will not listen. We cannot continue to fold our arms and watch this institute rot away or have our land taken away, most of our people are here. We want peace and I think peace cannot return to this place until Professor Akoroda is removed.
Efforts to speak with Professor Akoroda on the phone were rebuffed as he said he is not permitted to speak on the issue due to a civil service rule against it, “I cannot speak on this issue except with the express permission of the Permanent Secretary.”
Source: Sahara Reporters