Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has accused the National President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, of fighting his administration because of his political interest.
Mr Uzodinma, who is seeking reelection under the platform of the APC, spoke while fielding questions from reporters at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Thursday.
The governor was at the Presidential Villa alongside two other APC governorship candidates in Bayelsa and Kogi states to receive his governorship flag from President Bola Tinubu ahead of the 11 November election in the state.
There was uproar in Imo State, on Wednesday, after some thugs and police officers reportedly attacked Mr Ajaero and other members of the NLC who had assembled at the union’s council secretariat ahead of their planned protest in the state.
The national leadership of the NLC later alleged that Mr Ajaero was arrested by police operatives in the state.
The union also accused the state governor, Mr Uzodinma of mobilising the thugs and the officers to attack and arrest the NLC president to frustrate the planned protest in the state.
The workers had resolved to hold the protest in the state over an alleged violation and abuse of the rights and privileges of workers by Mr Uzodinma’s government.
The police in Imo State would later say they did not arrest Mr Ajaero but only took the union president “into protective custody” to protect him from a mob attack against him.
The NLC subsequently accused the police in Imo State of brutalising Mr Ajaero upon his arrest.
“Immediately after his arrest, he was beaten up and blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination where more brutalisation took place, sometimes with bottles,” Benson Upah, the NLC spokesperson, said in a statement Wednesday evening.
“Thoroughly brutalised, his right eye at the time of the contact was completely shut. His phones, money and other personal effects were taken off him and have not been returned to him,” he added while confirming the release of the NLC president.
“What has happened in this ugly coincidence is that the national president of the Nigeria Labour Congress is from Imo state and has not been able to demarcate the difference between being a national leader of an organisation and then an interested party in local politics,” Mr Uzodinma said.
The governor suggested that Mr Ajaero was being used by unnamed opposition political parties to blackmail his government.
“…There is an attempt to mix up partisan politics or an attempt to blackmail my government, but I can tell you that my people are already aware,” he stated.
He claimed that he had gained the trust of the Imo Chapter of the NLC and further alleged that some unnamed opposition political parties were fighting to cause distrust.
“I have convinced my workers in Imo State to believe in me, and that trust is what opposition parties are trying to fight,” the governor said.
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