By Anthony Isibor
THE National of Electricity Employees, NUEE, has urged its members all over the country to get ready for an indefinite nationwide strike over the abduction of NLC President, Joe Ajareo, on Wednesday.
According to a circular signed by Dominic Igwebike, Acting General Secretary of the Union, the mobilization became necessary following the atrocious and inhumane behaviours meted out to fellow members and the abduction of the NLC President.
It alleged that Ajaero was abducted by the Imo State Governor and the Policemen of the Imo State Command.
“We will embark on a total shutdown of the nation if the President of the NLC is not released and adequate explanation given by the Nigerian Government.
“To this effect, all national and state and chapters executives are requested to start the mobilization of our members in total compliance with this directive.
“Please note that withdrawal of services nationwide commences from 0.00 hours of Thursday, November 2, 2023.
“We cannot be at work while the President of the NLC is incarcerated and we cannot be at peace while the rights of the workers in Imo State are being trampled on with utmost impunity.
Realnews recalls that in a joint statement earlier signed by Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC General Secretary, and Nuhu Toro, TUC Secretary General, explained that the action of the state government would only embolden the workers the more to press for their demands.
Part of the statement read:
“Earlier in the morning, Policemen had tried to disperse workers who were gathering at the state NLC secretariat without success. This was followed in the usual manner by thugs who were stationed very close to the Secretariat in several Hilux and Toyota trucks.
“These thugs were later to unleash mayhem on the few workers who had already gathered smashing car windscreens, delivering matchet cuts on some, stabbing many and inflicting all manners of injuries on the workers. GSM handsets were snatched, Laptops taken away and monies were forcefully taken away by the hoodlums.
“As if that damage was not enough, the President of the NLC; Joe Ajaero arrived the venue accompanied by few individual workers to inspect the carnage and to provide the necessary leadership for the trade union action to continue only to be met by Policemen of the Imo state Police Command who came in their numbers and in several trucks.
“The Police in the usual manner accompanied by thugs led by the Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo state on Special Duties: Chinasa Nwaneri, leading others like Tapey and Madoka descended on the President of the Congress after overpowering the few workers who were left after the initial battering, inflicted heavy injuries and big blows to his head and body and kicking him in the process, while dragging him on the ground while the Police supervised the mayhem.
“They eventually bundled the President into their waiting van and whisked him away to unknown destination where he is still being held incommunicado as we write. This latest action of the State Government and the Police further demonstrates our earlier cries to Nigerians on the level of violence and impunity going on in Imo State. If the President of the Congress can be abducted in broad daylight and taken to unknown destination by the Police and the State Governor, imagine, what they have been doing to workers and trade union leaders in the state!
“This is mind boggling and unacceptable in sane societies. The use of violence against innocent citizens, especially against trade union leaders by the State has unfortunately become the norm. It is the new normal that may cause our nation dearly if people are allowed to get away with such violence and bloodletting.
“All we have been asking the governor is to honour agreements signed between us and to respect the rights of workers in the state. Workers deserve their wage and if you are in the habit of owing workers, you make their lives unstable and strip them of their humanity. These are some of the things we have asked Hope to do but to which he has refused to heed instead, he believes in the use of intimidation and violence against the workers and the people.
“We call on Nigerian workers, wherever they may be; in the respective industrial Unions; the state councils and the branches to be on alert for an immediate nationwide action if by the end of today, the President of the Congress is not released. We cannot be at work while our President is in the gulag and we cannot be at peace when the Government of Imo state continues to disrespect workers and treat them with utter disdain.