NLC, Imo Govt clash over ‘attack’ on Ajaero’s village –
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday accused Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinmma of sending thugs to attack the home of its President, Joe Ajaero, on Saturday.
But the state government denied the allegation, describing it as “cheap, baseless, and vicious propaganda”.
The NLC said the alleged attack on Azalla Owalla in Emekuku, the hometown of the NLC President, was “carried out under the misguided belief that Comrade Ajaero was still present”.
Ajaero last Wednesday led workers to Owerri, the Imo State capital, to protest the alleged failure of the governor to pay salaries.
The protest turned violent as Ajaero was assaulted in the process, with the police taking him into “protective custody”.
The NLC accused the state government and Commissioner of Police of being behind the attack.
The NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) threatened to go on strike on Wednesday unless the Inspector General of Police redeployed the Commissioner of Police in Imo, among other demands.
NLC Head of Media and Information, Comrade Benson Upah, said in a statement that last week’s attack on Ajaero “stands as a stark reminder of the lengths to which they are willing to go in their pursuit of suppression and brutality”.
The statement reads: “In a shocking turn of events, on the morning of November 4th, 2023, Governor 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.
“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 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 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.
“The people of Azalla Owalla are entitled to their peace, and the continued occupation of their community by the Police and Uzodimma’s thugs, in the wake of the assault on their fellow citizens, constitutes an ongoing insult.
“The occupying forces must immediately vacate the territory, granting the people the freedom to engage in their socioeconomic activities without the looming spectre of terror.
“Governor Uzodimma should be under no illusion Nigerian workers remain steadfast in their commitment to protect the rights of Imo workers, undeterred by the current wave of violence he has chosen to pursue.
“We draw strength from the events of November 1, which will guide our future interactions with the governor.
“The workers of Imo will prevail, and Hope’s attempts to thwart our cause through intimidation and violence will be in vain.”
But the Imo government described the allegation that Ajaero’s home was attacked as a “falsehood”.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Emelumba, said: “It is obvious that Ajaero and his band of alarmists have gone mad and have consequently thrown every decorum to the wind.
“Because the embattled NLC president is a card-carrying member of the Labour Party, it is not surprising that he is throwing up every possible blackmail and falsehood in the vein hope that such pranks will help his party on November 11.
“This latest allegation that the governor attacked his village on November 4th can only pass for cheap, baseless, and vicious propaganda.
“The earlier Ajaero woke up to the consequences of the divisions he created in organized Labour in Imo, which will continue to hunt him, the better for his badly bruised NLC Presidency.”
Also yesterday, a House of Representatives member, Eugene Dibiagwu, accused Ajaero of working for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate, Samuel Anyanwu, to cause anarchy in the state ahead of the governorship election.
Dibiagwu, who is the National Convener of the Imo Progressive Movement (IPM), said the group uncovered shocking details of dirty roles assigned by PDP to Ajaero to cause anarchy in the state.
He did not provide evidence of the allegations against Ajaero nor could his claims be independently verified.
Dibiagwu, who represents Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West Federal Constituency, alleged: “In clear terms, the summary of the deal is to throw Imo into darkness, anarchy and a very bitter political crisis to compel the Federal Government to sack the heads of the security agencies in the State.
“This is the only way the PDP is plotting to whittle down the effectiveness of the security establishment and pave the way for the importation of armed militants from Edo and Rivers states into the state for the governorship election.
“Ajaero was promised that he would nominate the Secretary to the State Government in Imo if PDP wins the governorship election in the state. And, second, Ajaero was promised the PDP senatorial ticket for Owerri zone in 2027.”
“These are the political motives that have driven Ajaero to break the law and lend himself as a vessel for the destruction of Imo state.”
He urged the Federal Government to ignore the demand by the opposition to tinker with the security leadership in Imo, adding that it was a ploy to cause a breakdown of law and order during the election.
“IPM passes vote of absolute confidence in the Imo State Commissioner of Police and the Director of State Security Service, and urges the Federal Government to completely ignore the mischievous demands by the opposition and their affiliates to tinker with the security leadership in Imo state,” he said.
Imo PDP New Media Director, Lancelot Obiaku, denied the allegation that Ajaero was working for the PDP, saying that the party has no dealings with NLC.
“Are you saying that people have no right to demonstrate in Imo again? It is freedom of expression. What is the state government afraid of?” he asked.
Full Story: https://citynewsng.com/2023/11/06/nlc-imo-govt-clash-over-attack-on-ajaeros-village/
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