CITIZENS COMPASS —Security operatives in Imo State have reportedly arrested Joe Ajaero, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
has reportedly been picked up by security operatives in Owerri, the Imo state capital.
Benson Upah, media head of the NLC, confirmed the development to newsmen in the State.
Upah said Ajaero was picked up from the state council secretariat of the NLC by heavily armed police officers.
“President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero was picked up a few minutes ago from NLC state council secretariat by heavily armed policemen in Owerri and taken to an unknown destination,” he said.
Recall that on October 30, the NLC had promised to ground activities in Imo State from November 1, to protest the alleged violation and abuse of rights and privileges of workers.
Ajaero had alleged that the Imo State Government had not paid some workers for 20 months.
“Despite our repeated efforts to engage in constructive dialogue and reach amicable agreements, the Imo state government has become a habitual and serial breaker of these agreements, continuing to trample on the rights of workers in the state,” Ajaero had said.
As a result, we are left with no choice but to embark on mass protests and industrial actions beginning on the 1st day of November 2023.
“This is to demonstrate our outrage and stop the continuing violation of the rights and privileges of workers in the state.
“Shockingly, some workers have been subjected to a staggering 20 months of unpaid salaries under the unfounded, unjust label of ‘ghost workers. “
Police deny arrest
Meanwhile, the The Imo State Police Command on Wednesday, said they were not involved in the alleged arrest of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Joe Ajaero in Imo.
The Command through its spokesperson, Henry Okoye, made this known to newsmen in Owerri while commenting on the arrest of Ajaero by security operatives in Owerri on Wednesday, during the NLC strike action in the state.
Explaining further, the Police said: “The Imo State Police Command wishes to clarify some sketchy reports alleging the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, in Owerri. It is pertinent to state that the NLC President was in Owerri as part of arrangements of the Congress to mobilize workers for a mega protest rally in the state. In the course of their planning, it was reported that suggestions arose for the lockdown of some essential facilities particularly the airport which led to some workers and other individuals resisting the picketing process leading to scuffles, heated arguments and an eventual attack on the person of the president by a mob.
“Upon receiving this report, the Imo Police Command swiftly deployed police operatives to the scene where the Officer in Charge exercised his operational discretion by taking the NLC President into protective custody at the State Command Headquarters to ensure
the protection of his life and that he was not lynched in the scuffle that followed. The Commissioner of Police thereafter directed that he should be taken to the Police Medical Services, Owerri, where he would be accorded medical attention as a result of the attack. He has therefore been accorded adequate security cover to proceed on his other legitimate engagements for the day.”
“It is however necessary to emphasize the existence of a court injunction from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria held in Owerri with Suit No. NICN/OW/41/2023 dated 27th October 2023, barring the NLC from holding the intended protest rally in Owerri.
“The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Police Command, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde, psc (+), therefore urges all concerned
parties to ensure compliance with the Court directives to avoid jeopardizing the current security arrangements on Owerri and other parts of Imo State, even as the State gears up for the forthcoming electioneering process on 11th November 2023,” he said.