●As Owerri zone elders condemn attack on labour leader
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has sounded the alarm over the alleged invasion of Azalla Owalla in Emekuku, Owerri, Imo State, hometown of NLC president, Joe Ajaero, by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
NLC head of media and information, Benson Upah, in a statement on Sunday called on President Bola Tinubu to call the governor to order.
This comes after Ajaero was attacked in Owerri by persons allegedly from the governor’s camp on November 1.
Upah said, “The brazen and violent assault on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, and others on November 1st, 2023, inside the State Secretariat of the Nigeria Labour Congress in Imo State, by Governor Hope Uzodimma, his thugs, and the State Police Commissioner, stands as a stark reminder of the lengths to which they are willing to go in their pursuit of suppression and brutality.
“In a shocking turn of events, on the morning of November 4th, 2023, Governor Hope Uzodimma, once again demonstrated his utter disregard for human rights and democratic principles by invading and attacking the community of Azalla Owalla in Emekuku, Owerri, Imo State – the hometown of NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero.
“It is evident that the Governor’s sinister objective is the assassination of the President of the Congress, a motive laid bare by this latest act of aggression on the community. This invasion was carried out under the misguided belief that Comrade Ajaero was still present, recovering from injuries inflicted by the police and hired thugs.
“The use of excessive force against citizens who hold differing opinions or dare to question the Governor’s governance style, particularly in relation to the inhumane treatment of workers in Imo State, is an affront to democracy. The current situation in Imo State is nothing short of a descent into fascism, where terror takes precedence over reason, and dialogue is pushed to the sidelines.
“We urgently call on the Inspector General of Police to rein in the Imo State Police Commissioner, preventing further abuse and desecration of the nation’s Police force. The Commissioner has become a tool of oppression in the hands of the fascist Governor, perpetrating intimidation and harassment on the people of Imo State. Immediate removal is essential to prevent an impending crisis.
“The President of the Federal Republic and all patriotic citizens of Nigeria must not remain silent in the face of this bloodshed. It is imperative that the Governor be held accountable. We believe that the President holds the means to rein in the excesses of the Governor, and these measures must be swiftly employed to safeguard lives and properties in the state.”
Meanwhile, a group which identified itself as Elders of Owerri Zone Extraction has condemned the attack on the NLC leader.
The group, in a statement on Sunday signed by all members, Mike San, Nnaemeka Maduagwu, Amugo Ugorji, Anamelechi Aguwa, Emma Kema, Julius Onyenucheya, and Gerry Ogoko, called on the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to set up a team to investigate the attack on Ajaero.
The group said, “We Elders and Leaders Of Owerri Zone Extraction on behalf of the good people of Owerri Zone hereby regret and vehemently condemn the brutal attack on our beloved and illustrious son, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress on the very soil of Owerri Zone, an act which we consider as an abomination and an utter desecration of our land.”
The group said it reached out to Ajaero and was shocked on getting firsthand account of what transpired on the said day.
The group, therefore, made the following demands: “That the inspector general of Police graciously clear the image of the Nigerian police of suspected complicity in this unfortunate incident, by immediately setting up an independent crack team of officers to urgently investigate this matter,so that confidence in the ability of the police force to maintain peace,law and order in this state can be restored.
“That the persons already named in the public statement issued by the Nigerian Labour Congress and corroborated by our son as those who led the assault on him, should immediately be brought in for questioning and for possible prosecution by the police.”
The group noted that it would continue to call on the people of Owerri Zone and the entire state to “endure in the face of these illegalities.”
“We urge the National Security Adviser, the inspector general of police and the government of the federal Republic of Nigeria, to take immediate steps to restore order in our dear state Imo,” the group added. [TheNiche]