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The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero was thoroughly brutalised and rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri with his right eye completely shut, the NLC has said.
The NLC Head of Information and Publicity, Comrade Benson Upah, described the arrest and assault suffered by Ajaero on Wednesday as “attempted murder”.
Upah said that contact was made with Ajaero “around 15:30 hours at the Police Hospital in Owerri from where he was taken to Federal Medical Centre, Owerri where he is receiving medical attention”.
Nigeria Police Claim Labour Congress President, Ajaero Was Not Arrested But ‘Taken Into Custody To Protect His Life’
According to him, Ajaero was “thoroughly brutalised,” and “his right eye at the time of contact was completely shut.”
He further said, “Ajaero, who said little stated that immediately after his arrest, he was beaten up and blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination where more brutalisation took place, sometimes with bottles.
“His phones, money and other personal effects were taken off him and have not been returned to him.”
Reacting to the situation, Omoyele Sowore in a post on his X (formerly Twitter) handle described the action of the police as barbaric.
He said, “This barbarism is unacceptable, @HopeUzodinma sent thugs to assault and possibly assassinate @NLCHeadquarters President Joe Ajaero, the @NLCHeadquarters ought to shut down the country until the Imo State Governor and his thugs are removed from office. #RevolutionNow.”
The NLC EARLIER raised the alarm that its national president, Ajaero, haD been abducted by the Imo State governor, Hope Uzodimma, and the state Commissioner of police.
The NLC in a statement signed by Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, General Secretary, and Comrade Nuhu Toro, TUC Secretary General, said the action of the state government would only embolden the workers more to press for their demands.
THE FULL STATEMENT:
“The Government of Imo State has continued to use the instrument of violence and intimidation against trade unions and their leadership in the state. Just as Nigerian workers gathered earlier this morning led by the leadership of the two labour centres to demonstrate our outrage over the serial and habitual abuse and violation of the rights of workers in the state; the Government unleashed blood cuddling mayhem on the workers.
“Earlier in the morning, Police men had tried to disperse workers who were gathering at the state NLC secretariat without success. This was followed in the usual manner by thugs who were stationed very close to the Secretariat in several Hilux and Toyota trucks.
“These thugs were later to unleash mayhem on the few workers who had already gathered smashing car windscreens, delivering matchet cuts on some, stabbing many, and inflicting all manners of injuries on the workers. GSM handsets were snatched, Laptops taken away and Monies were forcefully taken away by the hoodlums.
“As if that damage was not enough, the President of the NLC; comrade Joe Ajaero arrived the venue accompanied by few individual workers to inspect the carnage and to provide the necessary leadership for the trade union action to continue only to be met by Police men of the Imo state Police Command who came in their numbers and in several trucks.
“The Police in the usual manner accompanied by thugs led by the Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo state on Special Duties: Mr. Chinasa Nwaneri leading others like Tapey and Madoka descended on the President of the Congress after overpowering the few workers who were left after the initial battering, inflicted heavy injuries and big blows to his head and body and kicking him in the process while dragging him on the ground while the Police supervised the mayhem.
“They eventually bundled the President into their waiting van and whisked him away to unknown destination where he is still being held incommunicado as we write. This latest action of the State Government and the Police further demonstrates our earlier cries to Nigerians on the level of violence and impunity going on in Imo State. If the President of the Congress can be abducted in broad day light and taken to unknown destination by the Police and the State Governor, imagine, what they have been doing to workers and trade union leaders in the state!”