The national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC ), Comrade Joe Ajaero, on Friday, narrated his ordeal in the hands of the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and thugs when he was assaulted during a planned workers’ protest in Imo State last week.
Ajaero, who gave the account of the incident while briefing journalists at the Pascal Bafyau Labour House in Abuja, stated that he was arrested by Police personnel from the State Police Command, who beat, blind-folded and dragged him on the floor like a criminal.
The Labour leader also dispelled rumour that the protest in Imo State was political and insisted that he was there to protest against the unfair labour treatment meted on Imo workers and violation of their rights.
He emphasised that the debacle between NLC and the state government under Governor Hope Uzodimma administration predated his tenure in office as NLC national president.
Ajaero, however, said that despite the maltreatment meted on him, the labour movement would not be deterred in ensuring the rights of workers were guaranteed.
He said, “The policeman arrested me, hit me with all manner of things and they were asking me why I was challenging Hope, that I should say my last prayer, and that they were taking me to, they call it Njoaba River, and that’s where they threw me.
The same people carried me to police headquarters to talk with their boss, and brought me down there. And the police people were standing outside as if they were waiting for a common criminal.
“But that wasn’t the end of my journey. When I got there, they transferred me to another boss, to where they call Tiger Base. It was there that they brought out even what they call court order, and started interrogating me.
“There, I was pleading that I needed to take some medications, I needed some medical attention. They interrogated me for hours. I think it was in that process that they got a call and took me to the office of the Commissioner of Police, who now ordered that I should be taken to police hospital,” he narrated.
Ajaero further said, “I don’t want to be emotional about it. That’s why we’re here today, and I’ve come to tell you that I’m here, I’m alive here today, you know, at least to narrate my story.
“I thank God that I’m alive today. And whosoever has diverted the workers’ money, wherever it might be, has diverted blood money, and has attracted generational curse.”