PENGASSAN Condemns Attack on Joe Ajaero: A Threat to Trade Union Movement

The President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Festus Osifo, and the Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa, have issued a statement condemning the recent attack on Joe Ajaero, the President of the National Labour Congress (NLC). The assault is described as a significant existential threat to the trade union movement in Nigeria.

A Violation of Human Rights: PENGASSAN’s Strong Stand

Blatant Violation of Rights and Democracy Principles

PENGASSAN has strongly asserted that the attack on Joe Ajaero constitutes a blatant violation of human rights and an assault on the core principles of democracy, freedom of expression, and association.

Background: Ajaero’s Arrest and the Imo State Protest

Arrest During Imo State Workers’ Protest

Joe Ajaero was apprehended in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, during a workers’ protest in the state. The demonstration was a response to alleged repeated abuses and violations of workers’ rights by the state government.

Differing Accounts: Police Claim vs. NLC’s Assertion

Discrepancies in the Reasons for Arrest

While the police stated that Ajeoro was taken into custody for his protection, the NLC contends that he was subjected to brutality after his arrest. Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma suggested that Ajaero was mixing politics with unionism.

PENGASSAN’s Reaction: Condemning Violence Against Union Leaders

Strong Stand Against Violence and Repression

PENGASSAN has voiced a stern condemnation of violence against union leaders and individuals advocating for workers’ rights.

Such actions are seen as not only attacks on these individuals but also as undermining the core elements of social dialogue and activism.

PENGASSAN’s Demands: Thorough Investigation and Solidarity

Calls for an Investigation and Support for Workers’ Rights

The association calls on the authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the attack on Joe Ajaero and bring the culprits to justice.

It urges law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of workers, activists, and union leaders, providing them with the necessary protection to perform their crucial roles without fear of reprisal.

Solidarity and Opposition to Suppression: A Collective Responsibility

Civil Society Organizations and Citizens Urged to Stand in Solidarity

PENGASSAN encourages civil society organizations, trade unions, and citizens to unite in solidarity with the NLC and Comrade Joe Ajaero, denouncing any acts of violence.

The suppression of voices advocating for workers’ rights and social justice must be collectively rejected.

PENGASSAN’s Stand and Future Preparedness

Red Alert for PENGASSAN Members and Preparing for Stormy Days

PENGASSAN declares its unwavering support for Comrade Joe Ajaero and expresses deep concern for his well-being and recovery.

The association reaffirms its commitment to upholding workers’ rights, advocating for social justice, and combatting any form of violence or repression that hinders progress.

A Collective Response: Injury to One is an Injury to All

Unity and Solidarity in the Face of Challenges

PENGASSAN emphasizes that all its members are on red alert as challenging days lie ahead.

The call goes out to all trade unions and the two labor centers to respond to this unsettling incident in a decisive manner because, as the saying goes, injury to one is indeed an injury to all.

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