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No going back in fight for Imo workers – Ajaero

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, on Friday vowed that the organised labour would not back down from its planned industrial action…

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, on Friday vowed that the organised labour would not back down from its planned industrial action in Imo State until all their their demands are fully met by the governor of the State.

Clad in dark eyeglasses, Ajaero, who maintained this stance during a press briefing at the Labour House, Abuja, said he was appearing for the first time since the attack on him in Owerri, Imo State capital, on November 1.

The labour leader, while denying his involvement in partisan politics, explained that the demonstration was purely to get justice for workers who were owed several months salaries in the state.

Narrating his ordeal to journalists during the briefing, Ajaero said he was arrested by the police and handed over to thugs who beat him up and dragged him on the floor while threatening to kill him and dump his body in a river.

“We heard that the workers who arrived at the protest venue as early as 7am were beaten up, their belongings seized and they were chased away.

“So, I arrived there by 9am with about 20 security personnel and was about to address journalists on the situation, when the police and other people in mufti came in and withdrew all the security there.

“They arrested me and handed me over to thugs who dragged me on the ground, hit me with all manner of things and tied my eyes. There were about seven of them.

“They started asking me why I was challenging Gov. Hope and that I should say my last prayers and that they were going to throw me into Njaba River. From there, I did not know how the same people took me to the police headquarters,” the labour leader narrated.

The NLC President, who thanked God for his life, noted that the struggle would still have continued if he had died.

“Not even my death could have stopped the struggle for the payment of those workers. If I had died in the process, the people that would have taken over, would have been more daring.

“Any of the deputies here that would take over, would have been more decisive. So, nobody is backing out, it is a question of allowing justice to prevail and paying the people you are owing.

“He (Uzodinma) said I am playing local politics. I do not know which one is local politics. I am not a card-carrying member of any political party in Nigeria, and as a governor, he should be privileged to some classified information to be able to say which political party I belong to.

“But, I thank God that I am alive today. Whoever has diverted the workers money, has diverted blood money and has attracted generational curse,” he stated.

Refuting claims that he was partisan, the labour leader said: “I am not sure that anybody from my village is contesting for any election, not to talk of my family members.

“Anybody that is supporting the non-payment of workers salaries, him and his family, if they work, they will not do it. That is the mission. It is a divine mission.

“I do not have any family members or whatever running for election but they are free to run if they are interested. If I want to run for any office tomorrow, I will pick the form of any party.

“There is no law that forbids a civil servant from contesting elections. The appeal court has also made it clear. It needs permission for a protest or rally. You only inform the security.

Commenting on health condition, Ajaero said he would not be seeking medical care in other countries because the NLC is an association that kicks against medical tourism abroad.

“The NLC is one of the pan Nigeria organisations that has been speaking strongly against medical tourism abroad. So, at the risk of my life I am staying back here to get medical attention until it because absolutely necessary to travel out. “he said.

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