The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, recently detailed his harrowing ordeal in Imo State, shedding light on a disturbing incident that has stirred controversy and raised concerns over workers’ rights and the safety of labor leaders.
Ajaero recounted how he was dragged on the floor and subjected to a vicious beating, a situation that has triggered outrage among the Nigerian labor unions.
The incident unfolded in Imo State as the NLC enforced an industrial action, part of its nationwide protest.
Ajaero has accused the police authorities and the state government of orchestrating the attack, although both entities have vehemently denied any involvement.
Recounting the traumatic experience, Ajaero stated, “I was in the secretariat of the NLC and called some journalists to join and then some of the officials of the NLC so that we can address the press on the situation in Imo.
It was then that the police led other people – in mufti uniform – and they came and withdrew about 20 security personnel that were there. And then the policeman arrested me and handed me over to thugs.”
Ajaero further described the brutal treatment he endured, saying, “They tied my nose, tied my eyes and tied everywhere and were hitting me with all manner of things.
They were asking me why I was challenging Hope and that I should say my last prayer and that they were taking me to Njoba River.”
In response to the attack on Ajaero, organized labor unions, including the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the NLC, launched protests at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, leading to disruptions and stranding travelers.
The Federal Government expressed disapproval of the airport blockade, urging a peaceful resolution to the ongoing labor dispute.
With tensions escalating, the TUC and NLC have issued threats of a nationwide strike unless the police authorities identify and take action against the officers responsible for the assault.
However, the National Industrial Court (NIC) has issued an order restraining them from initiating a work stoppage, further complicating the situation.
In response to the mounting pressure, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun has ordered “investigations into the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault” on Joe Ajaero and assured that “appropriate actions will be taken based on the findings of the investigation.”
The investigation’s outcome remains eagerly anticipated as Nigeria’s labor unions continue to assert their demands for justice and workers’ rights.
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