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‘Thoroughly brutalised’ — NLC laments ‘arrest’ of Ajaero in Imo

BY Ayodele Oluwafemi

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says Joe Ajaero, its president, was brutalised in Imo state.

The NLC said Ajaero was beaten and blindfolded immediately after he was arrested by security operatives.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ajaero was reportedly picked up from the Imo council secretariat of the NLC by heavily armed police officers.

Denying the arrest, the police command in Imo said the NLC president was taken into protective custody to avoid being lynched by a mob.

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Reacting to the incident, Benson Upah, media head of the NLC, in a statement, said the phones and personal belongings taken from the NLC president have not been returned.

“Immediately after his arrest, he was beaten up and blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination where more brutalisation took place, sometimes with bottles,” the statement reads.

“Contact was made with Congress President, Comrade Joe Ajaero this evening around 1530 hours at the police hospital in Owerri from where he was taken to Federal Medical Centre, Owerri where he is receiving medical attention.

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“Thoroughly brutalised, his right eye at the time of contact was completely shut.

“His phones, money and other personal effects were taken off him and have not been returned to him.

“He has been referred for ophthalmic investigation, a head/brain scan, a full body scan, and cervical spine therapy among other investigations, at the Federal Medical Center, Owerri.

“He is presently on a neck collar support bandage at FMC where he is admitted.”

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NLC PRESIDENT SPEAKS

Ajaero said he was beaten black and blue and was saved from passing out by God.

“Just as the rally was about to commence at the state council of the NLC, and I was addressing Imo workers, suddenly thugs came out from nowhere and attacked me, tore my clothes and inflicted body injuries on me alongside some union leaders,” Ajaero said.

“After pummelling me, I was whisked away by the police and heavily armed hooded men to the Imo state police facility.

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“My phones, money and other items were taken away from me and are yet to be returned to me. As I speak, my right eye is totally shut and giving me serious pain. I’m in severe pains.”

He described what transpired as an act of abduction which almost degenerated into murder.

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“God must have taken extra time to create me and made me strong to have absorbed these blows and beating without fainting instantly. It was very terrible,” the labour leader said.

“If government is claiming that there was an interim order stopping the NLC from embarking on strike or protest, it should also be noted that the order had elapsed with time and the government ought to have approached same court to issue a fresh order.”

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