THE PRESIDENT of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, on Friday gave a chilling narrative of his brutalisation in Imo State in the hands of thugs supervised by men of Imo State Police Command.
According to Comrade Ajaero at a world press conference, the police operatives handed him over to thugs for beating.
Ajaero, who wore medical neck collar and spotting dark sun goggles, lamented that the kind of beating he received after the police handed him over to the thugs was better imagined than explained.
He said, prior to the event, the NLC wrote to intimate all the security agencies about the protest obviously to provide security cover for the workers on the day of the protest.
“I can’t explain the beating I received. They tied my hands and dragged me on the floor like a common criminal. I am not even a card-carrying member of any political party as alleged,” Ajaero stated.
His account contradicted an earlier statement issued by the Imo State Police Command on its official X (formerly Twitter) handle by the state’s PPRO, ASP Okoye Henry, stating that the NLC President was taken into protective custody to save him from a mob attack.
“The Imo State Police Command,” the statement read, “wishes to clarify some sketchy reports alleging the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, in Owerri.
ALSO READ: Bishop Kukah Pleads With Ajaero; Says It’ll Be Tragedy If His Condition Is Used As Political Ploy To Stall Election In Imo
“It is pertinent to state that the NLC President was in Owerri as part of arrangements of the Congress to mobilise workers for a mega protest rally in the state. In the course of their planning, it was reported that suggestions arose for the lockdown of some essential facilities particularly the airport which led to some workers and other individuals resisting the picketing process leading to scuffles heated arguments, and an eventual attack on the person of the president by a mob.
“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 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 has therefore been accorded adequate security cover to proceed on his other legitimate engagements for the day.”
IGP Orders Thorough Probe Of Attack
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has ordered a thorough investigation into the assault to ascertain the facts surrounding the incident and to address any existing ambiguities.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, shared on the Force X account on Friday.
The statement reads: “The Inspector General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, has ordered investigations into the circumstances surrounding the alleged assault on the person of the President of the National [sic] Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero.
“Consequently, he has directed the Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department to take over the matter with the primary objective of ascertaining the true facts surrounding the incident and to address any ambiguities that may exist as the Police has been inundated with different versions of the incident making investigations imperative to clear the conflicting accounts.
“The Nigeria Police Force understands the importance of transparency and accountability in maintaining public trust.
“The IGP therefore assures the public, most especially the leadership of the organised labour, that a thorough and unbiased inquiry will be conducted to provide clarifications while urging organised labour and the public to remain calm, as he has personally intervened to address the issues surrounding this incident.
“The investigation has commenced, and the Nigeria Police Force guarantees that it will be followed to a conclusive end, and appropriate actions will be taken based on the findings of the investigation.”