The Nigeria Police Force’s command in Imo State has absolved its officers of complicity over Wednesday’s reported arresting and brutalisation of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, in Owerri, the state capital.
Ajaero has been referred for ophthalmic investigation and brain scanning following the ugly injuries sustained when suspected hired thugs and police officers beat him up at a protest rally in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
NLC had vowed to ground activities in Imo from November 1, over the violation of rights of workers and the state government’s failure to pay workers for 20 months.
Just as the rally was about to commence at the state council of the NLC and the Congress President got set to address the workers, thugs, who had cordoned the place before 6am attacked him, tore his clothes and inflicted body injuries on him alongside some union leaders.
After pummeling him, he was whisked away by the police and heavily armed hooded men to the police facility.
The leadership of the NLC has accused the state government of being behind the attack which it claimed was supervised by the state Commissioner of Police.
Ajaero, according to the NLC media unit, has been placed in a neck collar.
Benson Upah, head of information unit last night said: “Congress President, Joe Ajaero has been referred for ophthalmic investigation, a head/brain scan, a full body scan, and cervical spine therapy among other investigations.
“He is presently on a neck collar with wheals all over his skin.”
Reacting to the development, Henry Okoye, spokesman of the Imo State Police Command, said the NLC President had a heated argument with some individuals resisting the picketing of the airport in the state.
Okoye said to prevent an attack on Ajaero, the police took the NLC President into protective custody at the state police headquarters.
“Upon receiving this report, the Imo police command swiftly deployed police operatives to the scene where the officer in charge exercised his operational discretion by taking the NLC president into protective custody at the state command headquarters to ensure the protection of his life and that he was not lynched in the scuffle that followed,” the Imo police spokesperson said.
“The Commissioner of police thereafter directed that he should be taken to the Police Medical Services, Owerri, where he would be accorded medical attention as a result of the attack.
“He was therefore accorded adequate security cover to proceed on his other legitimate engagements for the day.
“It is however necessary to emphasize the existence of a court injunction from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria holden in Owerri with Suit No. NICN/OW/41/2023 dated 27th October, 2023, barring the NLC from holding the intended protest rally in Owerri.
“The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Police Command, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde, therefore urges all concerned parties to ensure compliance with the Court directives so as to avoid jeopardizing the current security arrangements on Owerri and other parts of Imo State, even as the State gears up for the forthcoming electioneering process on 11th November 2023.”