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Imo protest: NLC President, journalists, unionists attacked

Thursday Nov 02, 2023 18:03 pm



By NEWS EDITOR
Owerri,   News


Obi Condemns  Attack On NLC President, Ajaero 

Former Anambra State governor and the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, on Thursday, condemned the  attack on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, in Owerri, the Imo State capital. 

Obi in a post shared on his X handle desribed the attack as an abuse of power. 

The tweet read, "What happened to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress,  Joe Ajaero, in Imo State, yesterday has come as a rude shock to most Nigerians. 

"It says a lot about the state of affairs in our country today. 

"It shows the level of lawlessness, impunity, criminality, and rascality that have engulfed our dear country. 

"Things like this should worry any discerning mind because it runs counter to the type of country that we all desire and deserve. 

"In the New Nigeria of our dreams, abuse of power and the reckless violation of citizens' rights through acts of impunity will have no place." 

The Imo State Police Command earlier denied the allegation of arresting the NLC president, while the NLC and the Trades Union Congress threatened to call for an immediate nationwide strike following his arrest.

Credit: | PeterObi

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How it began

One person was feared killed and many others injured yesterday as the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Joe Ajaero, was abducted by security agents at the ongoing Organised Labour protest in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

This is as thugs descended on Labour leaders and other protesters, smashing vehicles, inflicting injuries and dispossessing handsets, money, ATM cards among other valuables from labour leaders and others that had gathered at the NLC State secretariat to begin the scheduled protest over pending labour issues.

The NLC President, other national leaders of NLC and their Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, counterpart,  were at the State Secretariat in Owerri to begin the planned protest ahead of strike today (Thursday) over backlog of unpaid salaries and allowances  among others perceived sins of Imo State government against workers in the State.

Among alleged sins of the Imo State government include refusal to implement previous agreements, outstanding salary arrears, unjust declaration of workers as ghost workers, destruction of NLC state secretariat, implementation of discriminatory pay and unpaid gratuity arrears.

Others are non-compliance with National Minimum Wage, intimidation and harassment of trade union leaders, use of violence and thuggery, misappropriation of union dues, declaration of pensioners as ghosts, systematic harassment and intimidation of workforce, resistance to social dialogue and collective bargaining, interference with workers’ democratic processes.

Trouble started at about 8 am when workers were trooping into the state Secretariat of the NLC for the protest, when suddenly thugs in about 10 mini-buses armed with dangerous weapons stormed the Secretariat and attacked labour leaders, workers and chased them away.

It was a rowdy sight as union leaders and Journalists scampered for safety.

However, the workers reassembled at the Secretariat but this time led by the NLC president and General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja to commence the protest.

It was gathered that as Ajaero was about to address the gathering, a team of armed Policemen and hooded men in trucks stormed the venue and arrested him alongside some labour leaders and some journalists, shooting sporadically.

An unconfirmed report said a yet-to-be-identified unionist was killed while the TVC camera man was arrested and his camera smashed.

Already the TVC reporter and others who also sustained injuries went into hiding for fear of further attacks.

Speaking, NLC’s Head of Information and Publicity, Benson Upah had earlier informed of Ajaero’s arrest by the Police led by the Commissioner of Police.

He said: “The NLC President was abducted by Policemen armed to their teeth at the Imo state NLC secretariat on Wednesday as we are about to commence our lawful protest against the violation of trade Union rights of the workers.”

The attack

It was gathered that as Ajaero was about to address the gathering, a team of armed Policemen and hooded men in trucks stormed the venue and arrested him alongside some labour leaders and some journalists, shooting sporadically.

unconfirmed report said a yet-to-be-identified unionist was killed while the TVC camera man was arrested and his camera smashed.

Already the TVC reporter and others who also sustained injuries went into hiding for fear of further attacks.

Speaking, NLC’s Head of Information and Publicity, Benson Upah had earlier informed of Ajaero’s arrest by the Police led by the Commissioner of Police.

He said: “The NLC President was abducted by Policemen armed to their teeth at the Imo state NLC secretariat on Wednesday as we are about to commence our lawful protest against the violation of trade Union rights of the workers.

 

An unconfirmed report said a yet-to-be-identified unionist was killed while the TVC camera man was arrested and his camera smashed.

Already the TVC reporter and others who also sustained injuries went into hiding for fear of further attacks.

Speaking, NLC’s Head of Information and Publicity, Benson Upah had earlier informed of Ajaero’s arrest by the Police led by the Commissioner of Police.

He said: “The NLC President was abducted by Policemen armed to their teeth at the Imo state NLC secretariat on Wednesday as we are about to commence our lawful protest against the violation of trade Union rights of the workers.”

Credit|Vanguard

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