Workers declare strike Wednesday to protest Ajaero’s attack

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The organised labour comprising of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has declared a plan for a nationwide strike over the beating and abduction of their President, Joe Ajaero.

The strike scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 8, 2023, was made known in a press briefing on Friday.

According to the leaders of the joint union, the Federal Government is given a six-point demand, including the immediate removal of the Commissioner of Police, Imo State, and Area Commander, among other officials, for their alleged complicity in the brutalisation and humiliation of Ajaero and other workers.

The NLC’s Deputy President, Adeyanju Adewale, and TUC’s Deputy President, Tommy Okon, addressed the press on behalf of workers.

The text of the conference read, “The NLC President was blindfolded and whisked away by security operatives in the state before intervention from the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu.

“He was also beaten along with other workers with his phone seized, and journalists also maltreated with evidence shrouded away from the public.”

The union further expressed workers’ worry over the negligence of the Federal Government on the issue and the non-intervention of security personnel despite being briefed about their leaders’ presence in the state.

He added that the union resolved that “The Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Balde, should not only be investigated and redeployed but should also be held accountable for his action on Ajaero.

“The Area Commander and the other officers who supervised the brutalisation of our President and other workers in Owerri should be relieved of their office and stripped of their commission.

“We demand an unbiased and thorough examination of the President on the physical and psychological injuries inflicted on him. And all the properties lost be restored immediately.”

They stressed that if the government fails to meet their demands, the NUC, TUC, and their affiliates will no longer guarantee peace in the country, as there will be nationwide protests.

Ajaero was whisked away by the police at a protest on non-payment of workers by the Imo State Government in the state capital.

Reacting to the arrest, NLC accused the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, of conspiring with the state Commissioner of Police, Barde, to ‘abduct’ their President, Joe Ajaero, on Wednesday.

NLC said that the Imo State government has continued to use what it described as ‘the instrument of violence and intimidation’ against trade unions and their leadership in the state, adding that they had only asked the governor to pay the salaries owed to the state workers.

In a statement titled, ”The President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero has been abducted by Hope Uzodimma and the Imo State Police Commissioner’ signed by the joint Unions’ Secretaries, Emmanuel Ugboaja (NLC) and Nuhu Toro (TUC) on Wednesday, they frowned at the detention of Ajaero stressing the need for President Bola Tinubu’s intervention.

But the state Police Command and the governor, in separate statements, denied arresting Ajaero.

The police claimed the NLC President was in Owerri as part of the Congress’ plans to organise workers for a massive protest in the state.

During the planning stages, there were reports of proposals to lock down some crucial facilities, mainly the airport in the state.

Meanwhile, the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, claimed that the governor has no hand in Ajaero’s arrest, adding, “Those accusing the government are perennial mischief makers always crying wolf where there is none.”