Imo Police Claims NLC President Is in “Protective Custody,” Denies Arresting Him

Reports claiming that Joe Ajaero, the president of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), have been arrested by the Imo State Police Command detained have been refuted.
In a statement, Okoye Henry, the Imo State Police Command spokesperson, denied that the union president had been arrested, saying that the union leader had just been placed in protective custody.
“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 mobilize workers for a mega protest rally in the state,” statement by the Imo command read.
Okoye explained that “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,” the statement further read.
The Police comment comes as the labor organization threatened a nationwide strike in response to the arrest of its national president.
Imo Govt Denies Involvement In NLC President, Joe Ajaero’s Arrest 
The Imo State government has refuted any involvement in Comrade Joe Ajaero’s arrest who is the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress.
Ajaero was brutally beaten on Wednesday during a protest in Owerri.
In a joint statement, the secretaries of the TUC, Nuhu Toro, and the NLC, Emmanuel Ugboaja, charged that Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State, and Muhammed Barde, the state’s commissioner of police, had plotted to have Joe Ajaero arrested in the state capital, Owerri.
Declan Emelumba, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, countered that those criticizing the government were only persistent troublemakers who constantly sound alarms when none exist.
The Commissioner recalled that the purported strike action in the state had been stopped by the National Industrial Court in Owerri, which makes the planned action illegal.
Emelumba said the Imo State chapter of NLC had announced it was pulling out of the strike in compliance with the court order.
He emphasized that the state administration upholds the rule of law and questioned Ajaero’s actions in Owerri in violation of the court’s ruling, which threatened dire repercussions for disobedience.
The commissioner went on to say that information at the government disposal suggests there may have been a run-in between law enforcement officials in Imo State and lawless invaders from Abuja, which prompted police intervention to keep the peace.
Ada Peter
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