Ribadu says Ajaero’s attackers have been arrested, asks unions to call off strike

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The National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, says the attackers of the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero have been arrested.

In a statement on Wednesday issued by Zakari Mijinyawa, head of strategic communications in the office of the NSA, Ribadu called on the labour unions to call off their nationwide strike, noting that investigation into the assault on Ajaero in Imo, has commenced.

The NLC and and Trade Union Congress embarked on a nationwide strike on November 14.

Festus Osifo, TUC president, while speaking with reporters on Monday, said the strike would remain until “government at all levels wake up to their responsibilities”.

The nationwide strike is a protest against the alleged brutality of Ajaero in Imo State.

Ajaero was reportedly picked up from the Imo council secretariat of the congress in Owerri by heavily armed police officers.

However, the Imo police command said Ajaero was not arrested but was taken into protective custody to avoid being lynched by a mob.

On November 5, the national industrial court in Owerri, capital of Imo, issued an order restraining labour unions from embarking on a strike in the state.

Also, the Federal Goverment had secured an order restraining the unions and their affiliates from embarking on the strike.

Despite the court orders, the labour unions stood their grounds and proceeded with the strike.

Reacting, the NSA said he is worried about the implications of the strike on Nigerians and its impact on the economy and security of the country.

“The Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is concerned by the declaration of a nationwide strike by the leadership of the Organised Labour led by the NLC and TUC,” the statement read.

“The NSA is particularly worried about the implications of the strike action on the livelihood of ordinary Nigerians and its potential impact on economic security and other strategic national interests.

“As attested by the NLC leadership, the NSA immediately intervened on learning about the travails of the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joseph Ajero who was assaulted in Owerri, Imo State.

“The NSA regrets the incident and condemns it in its entirety as it was against the rule of law and the principles of freedom of association and expression subscribed to by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his administration.”

Ribadu said the outcome of the investigation would be made public.

“The Federal Government will never condone such an act,” he said.

“As a fallout of the incident, relevant authorities were directed to conduct thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the assault and bring to book the culprits.

“Available update indicates that some arrests have already been made in this regard. The outcome of the investigation will be made public as soon as it is concluded.

“The Federal Government, through the Office of the NSA, therefore, appeals to the labour leadership to call off the current strike action and allow the dialogue process underway to be exhausted.”