The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that their president, Joe Ajaero, was stripped of his human dignity and brutalized by the police in Imo State.
This statement was made by the Deputy President of the NLC, Adeyanju Adewale, in a press briefing that was held to address the happenings.
Describing the event as it happened, Adewale said, “They came in a convoy of vehicles and gun trucks, hooded, and armed to the teeth. Comrade Joe Ajaero was blindfolded, beaten to a pulp, brutalized, humiliated, and violated by the police personnel and taken to unknown location where he was subjected to more battering and torture as well as threatening with death before help came in his way when the National Security Adviser, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, ordered his immediate release.
“However, due to the severity of his injuries, the police had taken him to the police headquarters where we made contact with him at 3:30pm. At the time of our first contact with Comrade Joe Ajaero, his right eye was puffed, black, and soft, one of his ears had tiny trace of dry blood. His speech was blurred and incoherent, he had welts all over him, he did not recognize the people around him, and he could not walk without being aided or supported. Invariably, he had to be taken to Federal Medical Centre Owerri in Imo State for further investigation.
“At Federal Medical Centre, Comrade Ajaero, after he was stabilized, was referred to investigation; a head abrased scan, a full body scan, chest X-ray, a full body scan and cervical spine therapy among other investigations and promptly fitted with a neck collar.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Comrade Ajaero was not the only one beaten and arrested by the police but was the major target, thus, he received the most bestial and repulsive treatment. He was stripped of his dignity as a human being and as a president of this Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC. He was also stripped of his personal items, including the phones, money and other electronic gadgets. His vehicle was smashed, and tires ripped off.”
Adewale went on to say that other people were beaten and had their personal items taken away from them by the police, including workers and the crew members of TV stations- who Adewale said had their equipment confiscated for “being in possession of evidence the police will not want the whole world to see.”
The NLC deputy then claimed that the governor of Imo state had sent hoodlums who stationed themselves at the secretariat, where they beat up individuals and took their personal belongings from them, including money, phones, and other electronic devices.
He said, “We are worried that it has become criminal for workers in Nigeria to gather for a peaceful protest where section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution and the International Convention like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Chapter on Human and People’s Rights including High Rule Convention 87 and 98 guarantees the right to freedom of association and the right to bargaining collectively.
“It is more absurd that these infractions will even happen at all and still continue to happen especially when Nigeria sits as the Chairman of the governing board of the ILO.”