NLC President Joe Ajaero Arrested In Imo
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, has been arrested in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
Ajaero was picked up from the NLC State Council Secretariat by heavily armed policemen in Owerri and taken to an unknown destination.
The Head of Media at the NLC Headquarters, Benson Uper, stated this via a WhatsApp message to Channels Television.
The NLC is leading a statewide protest and strike in Owerri over what it described as lack of respect for workers, unpaid salaries, amongst others.
Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, on Wednesday, allegedly arrested the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Head of Information, NLC, Benson Upah, who spoke to The PUNCH, noted that Ajaero was picked up at the state secretariat of the congress and taken to an unknown location.
“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,” Upah informed our correspondent via a text message.
They reports that the NLC had vowed to mobilise its members for a total strike in Imo state starting Today, November 1, 2023.
Ajaero, during a press briefing on Sunday, had accused the Imo State Government of “violating the rights of the Nigerian workers in the state.”
Accusing the state governor Hope Uzodimma of neglecting workers’ welfare, Ajaero lamented that many of them have died because of the alleged lack of payment of their salaries.
He outlined some of the infractions against workers by Uzodimma, including the alleged refusal to implement previous agreements especially the accord reached on January 9, 2021, outstanding salary arrears of about 20 months, unjust declaration of workers as ghost workers, declaration of pensioners as ghost workers and unsettled gratuity arrears, among others.
According to him, approximately 10,000 pensioners have been wrongly labelled as ghost pensioners resulting in over 22 months of unpaid pensions while about 11,000 workers have been branded by the Imo State Government as ghost workers.
The NLC president also lamented the non-compliance with the national minimum wage by the state government, adding that Governor Uzodinma has resisted the use of social dialogue and collective bargaining to resolve the issues.
The President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero has been whisked away by the Police in Owerri, Imo State capital.
The development followed an ongoing protest by members of the union in the state.
It was gathered that the protest was hijacked by miscreants, who smashed vehicles and inflicted wounds on labour members.
recalls that the union had on Sunday announced that it would stage a protest in the state over the alleged violation and abuse of rights and privileges of workers by the State government.
Ajaero’s arrest was reportedly effected as early as 8am Wednesday morning.
Our sources said workers were gathered at the state Secretariat of the NLC for the protest when suddenly some men with weapons stormed the Secretariat and attacked the workers and chased them away.
However, the workers re-assembled at the Secretariat again but this time led by the NLC President and General Secretary, Emma Ugboaja to commence the protest.
The source said, just as Ajaero was about to address the gathering, a team of armed Policemen came and took him away alongside some officials of the NLC.
Reports said several gunshots were fired to disperse the gathered workers.
NLC’s Head of Information and Publicity, Benson Upah confirmed the development, saying the Police have arrested Ajaero.
He said: “The NLC President was abducted by men suspected to be Policemen armed to their teeth at the Imo state NLC secretariat on Wednesday as we were about to commence our lawful protest against the violation of trade union rights of the workers”.
Also while giving an account of the incident, NLC Deputy General Secretary and Chief of Staff to the NLC President, Chris Onyeka said that he was standing with Ajaero when he was brutalised and arrested.
“As workers were gathering to protest their maltreatment by the state government in Owerri, Imo state and the President of NLC was about to address the workers, the Police came amidst attacks by thugs to arrest Ajaero.
“Thugs first attacked and dragged Ajaero from the platform before Police came to arrest him along with another senior official of the NLC,” he said.