By Gbogbowa Gbowa
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has condemned the attack on the National President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero and other affiliate members of the union, noting that the attacks were sponsored to thwart the planned protest in Owerri, the Imo State Capital by the labour movement.
Also, the union said two of its top officials namely the Vice President General, Comrade Abubakar Bello and Deputy Organizing Secretary, Comrade Abudu Eroje, respectively, were seriously brutalised by the sponsored attack on the labour leaders.
In a statement by the Head of Media MWUN, Comrade John Kennedy Ikemefuna , the union accused the Imo State Police Command of engaging in avoidable acts of human rights violation noting that the two executives are currently in an intensive care unit in an undisclosed hospital.
The Maritime Workers Union explained further that the two senior executives apart from the grievous bodily harms the suffered in the hands of the sponsored hoodlums also lost their personal properties including money and phones.
According to the union the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress who was not at the NLC Secretariat during the initial attack arrived later to take stock of the situation, where he ambushed and physically assaulted by the sponsored urchins who were still at the premises.
The statement describes the attack as abuse of power adding that it is pertinent to note that the call for a mass demonstration in Owerri by the Nigeria Labour Congress is a legitimate action deemed necessary to liberate the masses of the state including suffering workers from their state of servitude and impoverishment by the state government.
The statement which demanded the immediate release of the NLC Leader reads:
“Unfortunately, two national officers of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria: Comrade Abubakar Bello (Vice President General), and Comrade Abudu Eroje (Deputy Secretary General) were brutally attacked, sustaining grave injuries and losing valuables such as their phones, money and important documents. As at the time of this press release, these officers are still in intensive care.
“The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria strongly condemns the violent attack on the national officers of MWUN by hoodlums and miscreants at the premises of the state secretariat of the NLC Imo State chapter leading to them sustaining grievous bodily harm and loss of their personal properties in money, and phones.”
The union accused the state police command of serious acts of unprofessionalism and abuse of power, noting that the police were compromised to help frustrate the planned mass protest by the labour movement.
“MWUN also condemns the arbitrary arrest and illegal detention of the president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) -Comrade Joe Ajaero- by members of the Nigeria Police Force, Imo State Police Command. 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”
The statement continues:
“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.”