The government of Imo State has said that no time is better suited for the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, to end the strike he instigated in Imo State that has lasted for five days than now.
The government acknowledged that in the last couple of days, Imo State has been plunged into avoidable and unnecessary black out due to an illegal strike called by Ajaero, with people bearing the brunt.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mbadiwe Emelumba, said in a statement he issued in Owerri in Monday that if Ajaero still has conscience, the best time to call off the strike he caused in Imo State is now.
Emelumba’s statement reads:
“First, he unilaterally declared strike on behalf of Imo workers beginning from Wednesday March 8, 2023, claiming that the workers were beaten and wounded, during their botched Congress of the previous day.
“There was no iota of evidence to prove the allegation . On the basis of this unfounded allegation, he set up a Caretaker Committee for the State NLC two hours after the Congress, on the same Tuesday, without due process. Imo workers ignored the strike and in fact made it clear to him that they had no issues with the government and that they were rather happy with the government. The workers have continued to report to work since then.
“As we all know, it is the right of workers to declare a trade dispute with their employers when they have outstanding issues, such as wages etc.
“But in the case of Imo State, prior to the unilateral declaration of the strike by Comrade Joe Ajaero, the NLC President, Imo workers were at peace with the Government of Senator Hope Uzodimma.
“For the records, Governor Uzodimma was about the first set of governors in the country to pay the approved minimum wage of N30,000 to Imo workers.
“In 2021, Governor Uzodimma became the first Governor in Imo State to pay 13th month salary to workers. He followed it up with another payment in 2022.
“Just early in the year, Governor Uzodimma approved the promotion of all categories of workers in the State who have not been promoted in the last 10 years. The implementation is ongoing.
“So, the natural question to ask Comrade Joe Ajaero, is when did the workers have an altercation or dispute with the Government? Was it before he assumed office as President or after?
“How come that the workers of Imo State whom Joe Ajaero is allegedly fighting for, do not want to join the Ajaero-led strike?
“Indeed, because the workers have been reporting to duty everyday, Joe Ajaero was thus forced to resort to the desperation of calling for the closure of filling stations and power outages as tools of blackmail and intimidation.
“He succeeded fully in the power outage because he is still holding sway as the leader of electricity workers union. It does not matter to him that the victims of his power play are the market women and men from his own State, whose businesses have been grounded by his mindless action.
“If Joe Ajaero does not have a personal and sinister political agenda, why is he hell bent on continuing with a strike that doesn’t have the blessing of Imo workers?
“Why again is Joe Ajaero bent on unleashing hardship on his fellow Imo men and women to the point of wanting to deny them the opportunity to vote in Saturday’s election?
“If Joe Ajaero means well for Imo State, including the workers and if indeed he has a functional conscience, then now is the time to stop this politically-motivated strike before it snowballs into something that will completely expose his real satanic intentions.”