By Innocent Orok
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria ( MWUN) has condemned the attack by suspected political thugs on Nigerian Labour Congress ( NLC ) National President, Comrade Joe Ajaero and some MWUN members at the Nigerian Labour Congress secretariat in Imo state.
The union also condemn the brutalization and illegal arrest of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero by the Nigeria Police, Imo State Police Command.
It could be recalled that on Wednesday in Owerri, Imo State capital , as labour leaders were preparing to begin a protest over unpaid salaries and allowances. According to reports, suspected agents of the Imo state government aided by the Police descended on the labour leaders smashing vehicles and stealing valuables.
In a statement issued by the Head of Media, MWUN, Comrade John Ikemefuna, the union said two of its members, Comrade Abubakar Bello (Vice President General), and Comrade Abudu Eroje (Deputy Secretary General) did not only sustain injuries, but also lost valuables including phones, money and important documents.The Union noted that the two executive members are currently at Intensive Care Unit ( ICU) of an undisclosed hospital.
According to the union, the President of the NLC who was not at the secretariat during the initial attack arrived later to take stock of the situation, but was ambushed and physically assaulted by the sponsored urchins who were still at the premises.
Describing the development as an abuse of power, MWUN maintained that the call for a mass demonstration in Owerri by the NLC is as legitimate as it is necessary to liberate the ordinary citizens of the State from the suffering being meted on them by the State government.
The MWUN statement reads, “This abuse of power is unwarranted, illegal and downright inimical to the foundational tenets of democracy and its attendant civil liberties.
“It is pertinent to note that the call for a mass demonstration in Owerri by the Nigeria Labour Congress is as legitimate as it is necessary to liberate the ordinary citizens of the State who are gnashing their teeth, writhing in pains from the unprecedented level of suffering being meted on them by the State.
“No sooner had the Nigeria Labour Congress state secretariat located in Owerri,Imo State opened for the business of the day i.e mobilizing its members for the scheduled mass demonstration than urchins arrived the venue and began to unleash mayhem and havoc in a calculated and deliberate move to prevent the NLC scheduled mass demonstration from taking off.
“As a result of these acts of violent assault by these obviously sponsored thugs, several individuals sustained serious and near-fatal injuries, with some of them rushed to the hospital for emergency care. As a social partner and affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress, Maritime Workers ‘Union of Nigeria naturally gave its solidarity support to the call for mass demonstration as directed by the leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress”
“Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria unequivocally condemns in the strongest of terms this attack, molestation and assault on its officials and the president of the NLC by these sponsored thugs as well as the illegal arrest of the NLC president by the Nigeria Police, Imo State Police Command.
“The MWUN hereby call on the Imo State government and the Nigerian Police to apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous crime and bring them to book as well as the immediate release of the NLC president so as to forestall further crises”, the statement concludes.