The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has reported that its President, Joe Ajaero, is in a critical condition and may need to be flown abroad for a comprehensive medical examination.
This follows a severe beating, brutalization, and assault by alleged state agents, including the police, in Owerri, the capital of Imo State. The incident occurred when suspected state agents and security personnel attacked Ajaero and other labor leaders, vandalized their vehicles, inflicted injuries, and robbed them of their possessions, including mobile phones, money, and ATM cards. The labor leaders had gathered at the NLC State secretariat for a scheduled protest over various labor issues, including unpaid salaries, allowances, pensions, gratuities, and non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage Act.
Following his release from police custody, Ajaero appeared weak, wearing a neck collar, with visible injuries on his skin. He has been referred for a series of medical investigations, including ophthalmic investigation, a head/brain scan, a full-body scan, and cervical spine therapy, among others.
An Assistant General Secretary and chief of Staff to the NLC President, Chris Onyeka, expressed deep concern about Ajaero’s deteriorating health, explaining that he could hardly speak and almost passed out on the previous night. The NLC is considering the option of flying him abroad for a comprehensive medical examination.
The attack on Ajaero and other labor leaders has raised widespread condemnation, and the NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) are set to meet next week to determine the appropriate response to the incident.
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