The Imo State Command of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, has said despite the incorrectness of Wednesday’s attack on the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Joe Ajaero, a court order had barred the trade union from protesting on the said date.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, ASP Okoye Henry, disclosed this in a statement which was released yesterday debunking claims that the command arrested the NLC president.
According to reports, Joe Ajaero who was leading a massive protest in Owerri, the Imo State capital yesterday, was whisked away by heavily armed police men to an unknown destination as no one could contact him or account for his whereabouts after the alleged arrest.
But the Imo State Police Command, through its Public Relations Officer, ASP Okoye Henry, denied any involvement with the alleged arrest of the NLC president, stating that they did not arrest him but saved him from mob attack.
The statement which was signed by the state’s PPRO and posted on the official X handle of the Nigerian Police Force read, “The Imo State Police Command wishes to clarify some sketchy reports alleging the arrest of the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Joe Ajaero, in Owerri.
“It is pertinent to state that the NLC President was in Owerri as part of arrangements of the Congress to mobilize workers for a mega protest rally in the state. In the course of their planning, it was reported that suggestions arose for the lockdown of some essential facilities particularly the airport which led to some workers and other individuals resisting the picketing process leading to scuffles and heated arguments and an eventual attack on the person of the president by a mob.
“Upon receiving this report, the Imo Police Command swiftly deployed police operatives to the scene where the Officer in Charge exercised his operational discretion by taking the NLC President into protective custody at the State Command Headquarters to ensure the protection of his life and that he was not lynched in the scuffle that followed.
“The Commissioner of Police thereafter directed that he should be taken to the Police Medical Services, Owerri, where he would be accorded medical attention as a result of the attack. He has therefore been accorded adequate security cover to proceed on his other legitimate engagements for the day.”
The statement further read that a court order had barred the NLC from holding its intended protest in Owerri.
It read, “It is however necessary to emphasize the existence of a court injunction from the National Industrial Court of Nigeria holden in Owerri with Suit No. NICN/OW/41/2023 dated 27th October, 2023, barring the NLC from holding the intended protest rally in Owerri.”
The state Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Barde, also urged all concerned parties to ensure compliance with the court directives so as to avoid jeopardizing the current security arrangements in Owerri and other parts of Imo State, even as the State gears up for the forthcoming electioneering process on November 11.