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NLC Insists On Nationwide Strike, Faults FG on Silence Over Violence Against Ajaero

Ajaero revealed he was tortured for hours on end and refused requests for medical attention.

The Nigeria Labour Congress has insisted on their decision to embark on a nationwide strike on Tuesday, November 14, due to the silence of the Federal Government on the violence meted out to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero.

This was said at a press conference organized by the NLC, where Ajaero, in his first appearance since his ordeal, revealed that he was tortured brutally by the police after his arrest at the NLC protest that took place in Owerri, Imo State.

During the press briefing, the NLC, while emphasizing on their decision to strike, said that the downing of tools by aviation workers at the Abuja International airport is simply a foretaste of the planned strike.

Ajaero, who appeared publicly for the first time since the event wearing a neck brace, then explained the ordeal he faced at the hands of the police in Owerri as he said, “There is nobody in this country, the security agencies, that didn’t know that we were going to Imo. We told them. We wrote the DSS, we wrote the police, we wrote to everybody. And then when we got there, the event started unfolding. We addressed the workers and told some of them that came that same day with complaints that they have not paid them for years, and we said that one will happen tomorrow. Ask all the people they were owing to come out since the governor was saying he has paid everybody so that we can assemble them for the governor to see the thousands of people, assuming he was not aware.

“It was in the event of doing that the following day that we got reports that workers that arrived as early as 7am were beaten up, their properties, their belongings, their phones seized. Some of them with broken eyes. It was because of that that around 9 that I went there with the assistance of about 20 security personnel. I was in the secretariat of the NLC and called some journalists to join, and then some of the officials of the NLC, so that we can address the press on the situation in Imo.”

Ajaero then said that it was at that moment that police officers stormed the venue and withdrew the security personnel that he had with him. He said, “The policeman arrested me and handed me over to thugs. One of the small, I don’t know whether that one is a sergeant or inspector, said, Oga, why don’t you take him? Don’t hand him over to these people. He shouted on the sergeant.”

He continued describing his experience, saying, “That was how they dragged me on the floor, took me to this bus, you know, with about 7 people. I can’t explain the people, but they tied my nose, tied my eyes, tied everywhere, and they were hitting me with all kinds of weapons and they were asking me why I was challenging governor, that I should say my last prayer,” also saying that the thugs threatened to throw him in a river.

The NLC president revealed that he was then taken to the Police headquarters, after which he was taken to a different zone said he was interrogated for hours on end, ignoring his pleas for medical attention, until they got a call, after which he was taken to the office of the Commissioner of Police, after which he was taken to the Police Hospital for treatment.

Speaking concerning the treatment of workers in Imo state, he said, “Whosoever has been collecting the money of Imo workers and calls himself ‘elder’ and is eating that money is eating blood money.”

Ajaero then said that he is lucky to be alive after what he went through at the hands of the police.

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi