THE Imo State Police Command has denied the reported arrest of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) President, Joe Ajaero in Owerri.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Command’s Police Public Relations Officer, Okoye Henry, on Wednesday.
According to the statement, the NLC president was in Owerri as part of the Congress’s plans to organise labourers for a massive protest demonstration in the state.
During the planning stages, there were reports of proposals to lock down some crucial facilities, mainly the airport in the state.
He further said this action prompted some workers and other individuals to oppose the picketing process, which resulted in Pacifica altercations, furious arguments, and ultimately an attack on the NLC president by a mob.
Following the receipt of this report, the Imo Police Command said it quickly moved in by sending police officers to the scene.
The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Police Command, Ahmed Barde, was said to have given the order to transport Mr Ajaero to the Police Medical Services in Owerri to receive treatment for his injuries from the attack, adding that he has been granted sufficient security coverage to carry out his other legal obligations for the day.
The statement partly reads, “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 mobilise 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.
“It is however necessary to emphasise 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 Commissioner of Police, Imo State Police Command, CP Mohammed Ahmed Barde, therefore urges all concerned parties to ensure compliance with the court directives so as to avoid jeopardising the current security arrangements in Owerri and other parts of Imo State, even as the state gears up for the forthcoming electioneering process on 11th November 2023.”