Claims that Imo State Police Command agents saved Nigeria Labour Congress President Joe Ajaero from mob action have been denied by the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, or NASU, which maintains that the police allegations are baseless.
Although NASU denounced the assault on the NLC President on Wednesday, it dismissed the notion that Ajaero was placed in “protective custody” for his own benefit.
He pleaded with President Bola Tinubu to establish an exhaustive probe into the assault and abuse of Ajaero and others.
Prince Peters Adeyemi, the General Secretary of NASU, recalled in a statement that Ajaero was attacked in Imo on November 1 while on official business in the South-East due to alleged labor violations by the Imo State Government.
The attack on the union leader, according to Adeyemi, was “a violation of trade union rights as well as Ajaero’s human rights.”
“The International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions and the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 Constitution (as amended) guarantee the rights that Ajaero was exercising in Owerri as the leader of the working people of Nigeria.”
“The ILO Conventions on Freedom of Association and Protection of Rights to Organise, 1948 (No.87), and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949 (No.98),” Nigeria has ratified as an ILO member state.
Adeyemi, who is also Public Service International’s (PSI) deputy president, charged the Imo government with unfair labor practices.
He declared, “It is not right to attack workers’ union leaders for inquiring as to why salaries and pensions have not been paid by the government.
“Ajaero was on a solidarity visit to the workers in Imo and should not have been visited with tendencies which were common in Nigeria only during military regimes.
“The assertions that Ajaero was placed in protective custody for his own benefit are denied by NASU. We implore President Bola Tinubu to establish a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.
“This kind of intervention would guarantee trade unions that they wouldn’t have to deal with a crackdown every time there was a labor dispute between the government and labor.”