NLC and TUC condemn the assault on Ajaero, announce a strike on Wednesday.

Following the recent abduction and physical harm inflicted upon Comrade Joe Ajaero, who serves as the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), in Owerri, the organized labor groups, including the NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), have declared a nationwide strike starting on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.

This announcement came during a press briefing on Friday, conducted by the NLC’s Deputy President, Adeyanju Adewale, and TUC’s Deputy President, Tommy Okon, who presented a set of six demands on behalf of workers to the Federal Government.

Among their demands, they called for the immediate removal of the Commissioner of Police in Imo State and the Area Commander, along with other implicated officials, due to their alleged involvement in the mistreatment and humiliation of the NLC president.

The joint union also expressed deep concerns about the Federal Government’s lack of action and the absence of intervention by security personnel, despite being informed of the presence of their leaders in the state.

They emphasized that if the government fails to meet their demands, the NUC, TUC, and their affiliated organizations would no longer guarantee peace in the country, and nationwide protests would be imminent.

The union leaders explained that the NLC President was forcibly taken away by security operatives in the state and was subjected to physical violence, along with other workers. His phone was confiscated, and journalists covering the incident were also mistreated. The Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Barde, not only should be investigated and reassigned but should also be held accountable for his actions regarding Ajaero. The Area Commander and other officers responsible for overseeing the mistreatment of the President and other workers in Owerri should be relieved of their duties and stripped of their commissions.

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Furthermore, they demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of Mr. Nwaneri Chinasa, an Adviser on Special Duties who supervised the violence against workers and the brutality inflicted on Congress President Comrade Joe Ajaero. The union also called for an impartial and comprehensive assessment of the physical and psychological injuries suffered by the President, as well as the immediate restoration of all lost properties.

It’s worth noting that Ajaero was taken into police custody during a protest in Owerri regarding the non-payment of workers by the Imo State Government. In response to his arrest, the NLC accused Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma of colluding with the state Commissioner of Police, Barde, to “abduct” their President, Joe Ajaero. They asserted that the Imo State Government had been employing violence and intimidation against trade unions and their leadership in the state and had only requested that the governor settle the outstanding salaries owed to 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,” jointly signed by the Unions’ Secretaries, Emmanuel Ugboaja (NLC) and Nuhu Toro (TUC), the NLC expressed its disapproval of Ajaero’s detention and called for President Bola Tinubu’s intervention.

However, both the state Police Command and the governor denied having arrested Ajaero. Governor Hope Uzodimma accused Ajaero of interfering in state politics, while the police claimed that the NLC President was in Owerri as part of the Congress’s plan to organize workers for a large-scale protest in the state. Similarly, the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, asserted that the governor had no involvement in Ajaero’s arrest and accused those making such accusations of being habitual troublemakers.

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