Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu Reporting
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, on Wednesday, said investigation has commenced into the assault on the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero.
The NSA also said some suspects have been arrested in connection to the incident in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on November 1, 2023.
Labour embarked on nationwide strike on Tuesday to seek justice over the assault on Ajaero, who was attacked when he was about to lead a protest against alleged anti-labour practices by the Governor Hope Uzodimma-led administration.
In the wake of the incident and days to the November 11, 2023 governorship poll in Imo State, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, had redeployed Mohammed Barde, the then Commissioner of Police in the state under whose watch the incident happened, and ordered an investigation into the assault on the NLC leader.
However, the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Festus Osifo, said the unions have no confidence in the probe by the IGP and called on the NSA to lead the investigation.
“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 the 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.”