The police in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, have taken Comrade Joe Ajaero, the president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, or NLC, away.
This came about as a result of continuous state-wide protests by union members.
There were reports that miscreants had taken over the protest, smashing cars and hurting laborers.
The union had said on Sunday that it will hold a protest in the state in response to the State government’s alleged abuse and violation of workers’ rights and privileges.
According to reports, Ajaero was taken into custody as early as Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.
Workers had gathered at the NLC state secretariat for the demonstration, according to our sources, when all of a sudden, a group of armed men invaded the building, attacked the workers, and drove them out.
Nevertheless, the workers reconvened in the Secretariat, this time under the direction of Emma Ugboaja, the General Secretary and President of the NLC, to start the protest.
According to the source, Ajaero and a few NLC officials were taken away by a group of armed policemen as he was ready to address the assembly.
Multiple gunshots were reportedly fired to scatter the workers who had assembled.
Benson Upah, Head of Information and Publicity of NLC, verified the news and stated that Ajaero had been taken into custody by the police.
“On Wednesday, as we were about to begin our lawful protest against the violation of trade union rights of the workers, the NLC President was abducted by men suspected to be policemen armed to the teeth at the Imo state NLC secretariat,” the statement read.
Additionally, NLC Deputy General Secretary and Chief of Staff to NLC President Chris Onyeka stated that he was standing next to Ajaero when he was assaulted and taken into custody during his account of the incident.
“The police arrived amid attacks by thugs to arrest Ajaero as workers were gathering in Owerri, Imo state, to protest their mistreatment by the state government, and the President of NLC was about to address the workers.”
He said that Ajaero and another senior NLC official had been beaten and dragged off the stage by thugs before police arrived to take them into custody.