Workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Thursday carried out a protest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja against last week’s brutalization of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in Imo State.
As part of reactions to the labour crisis precipitated by last week’s ill-fated protest in Imo State, NLC said that Ajaero will address a world press conference in Abuja Friday to give his own account of what transpired in Imo State.
The workers’ action caused a major disruption to the activities at the international airport, leaving most passengers to abandon their vehicles and trek to the airport lounge.
Addressing the protesting workers, President of TUC, Festus Osifo, said that the workers were protesting the unjust action meted to Ajaero while carrying out his mandate of protecting workers’ rights in Imo State.
He said that organised labour is determined to undertake a series of actions until the government do the needful by bringing the Area Commander of Police and those that allegedly perpetuated the brutalization and molestation of workers in Imo State to book.
Osifo said: “An injury to one is an injury to all. Somebody asked me why we are at the Abuja airport, is it a national issue? That the issue is in Imo State and we said no, the person that was brutalized is a national figure. Our president is a national figure and the police that brutalized him is a national institution, they are not Imo State police.
“The police that brutalized him reports to the Inspector General of Police, who in turn reports to the President of Nigeria. So since this is a national issue, we must make it one. Governor Hope Uzodinma cannot unleash thugs with the Nigeria police in Imo State on someone who have been peacefully fighting for the interest of the Nigerian workers.
“For us we say no. What is happening is just the first stage of the series of activities that will happen, except the Nigerian government do the needful and arrest those people who perpetrated the evil act on the NLC president and Nigerian workers. This is not acceptable and this must not be allowed by the Nigerian workers.
“Comrades let us be strong and this is a marathon. It is not a dash race, we are just starting until the government do the needful, the area commander that perpetuated this, that led those armed men that called themselves members of the Imo State police are called to order. They must be prosecuted and they must be brought to book. It is not just to transfer the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, there are series of actions that must be taken by the Nigerian government because an injury to one is an injuring all.”
He said that injustice is the same everywhere whether it happened in Imo State or in any state in Nigeria, adding that: “Once you do this to any Nigerian workers, we have the right fight for the right of the particular person across the nation.”