On Wednesday, Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Advisor (NSA), announced that an investigation into an attack on Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), had begun.
The capital of Imo State, Owerri, hosted the incident on November 1, 2023, and the NSA reported that certain individuals had been taken into custody in relation to it.
Tuesday marked the start of a statewide labour strike by the unions in protest of what they saw as the administration of Governor Hope Uzodimma’s anti-labour practices against Ajaero, who was attacked as he prepared to lead a rally.
Following the event and just days before Imo State’s governorship election on November 11, 2023, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun redeployed Mohammed Barde, the state’s former commissioner of police at the time the incident occurred, and launched an investigation into the attack on the NLC leader.
Festus Osifo, the president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), on the other hand, stated that the unions do not trust the IGP’s inquiry and urged the NSA to take the lead.
“The office of the NSA should lead this investigation; it should not even be the Inspector General of Police because in this particular subject, we also feel that the IGP is compromised,” Osifo said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme early Wednesday.
Reacting about two hours after Osifo spoke on our breakfast show, the NSA said his office is concerned over the matter.
In a statement signed by the Head of Strategic Communication in the NSA Office, Zakari Mijinyawa, Ribadu “regrets the incident” on Ajaero and “condemns it in its entirety as it was against the rule of law and the principles of freedom of association and expression subscribed to by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his administration”.
The NSA said the Federal Government will never condone such an act.
“As a fallout of the incident relevant authorities were directed to conduct thorough investigation into the circumstances sorrounding the assault and bring to book the culprits. Available update indicates that some arrests have already been made in this regard. The outcome of the investigation will be made public as soon as it is concluded,” the statement partly read.
“The Federal Government, through the Office of the NSA, therefore appeals to the labour leadership to call off the current strike action and allow the dialogue process underway to be exhausted.”