NLC shuts down Imo State, Sam Mbakwe Airport; Stops Fuel Supply

NLC National President, Comrade Ajaero

The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has shut down Imo State. Affected in the shut-down in the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, Imo State. The NLC on March 7, declared a strike/protest action which it said completely shut-down Imo State.

The shut-down of the Airport, the NLC said, will begin as from 12 midnight, March 8, 2023.

In a notice addressed to the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, signed by NLC’s General Secretary, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Comrade Ochema Aba, titled “Notice of Total Shutdown of Owerri Airport”, the Union said; “In compliance with the directive of the Nigerian Labour Congress for Total strike and shut- down of Imo State over the militarisation and brutalisation of Congress Members in Imo State, all Aviation Workers in Owerri Airport have been directed to shut-,down all services at the Airport with effect from 12 midnight, today, 08/03/2023.

“This action shall disable normal operations at the Airport, especially, with regard to aircraft movement in and out of Owerri.”

How Trouble Began

It was gathered that trouble began over what the NLC said is the State Government’s interference in the State NLC election of its Executive Members on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. The State Government, the Union alleged, was bent on installing the State Chairman of the NLC, a move that was resisted by the Union.

In order to project the current Chairman, the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, allegedly, asked his opponent, a staff of the Imo State University to stand down. But he was unanimously asked by his Union to contest, so it was not an order he could obey without consultations.

On Tuesday, the Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba, allegedly put a call across to the National President of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and told him that the Governor’s choice be upheld. He asked Ajaero, to comply with that, an order Ajaero rejected and told Emelumba that the two contestants would be allowed to participate in the election, so that whoever wins would take up office.

Ajaero, this medium was told, assured the Governor that whoever won, would be a plus for the Governor as both are staff of Imo State Government.

However, as the Convention began, it was disrupted by

alleged Government sponsored agents who attacked the Workers and in the process, injured a number of them. That prompted the NLC to declare a Strike Action.

In a statement on Tuesday entitled Agents Of Imo State Government Unleash Mayhem On Nigerian Workers, Ajaero, on behalf of the NLC, declared a strike action in protest.

The statement reads;

“One of the cardinal principles of good governance is the pursuit of the security of the lives and properties of the citizenry from criminal elements. Imo state today however witnessed the unleashing of brigandage and mayhem on hapless workers and citizens unbelievably by agents of the state government. Instead of securing the lives of citizens, the government allowed the use of thugs against its own people.

“NLC in keeping with its democratic culture and practices had instructed its State Councils throughout the federation to prepare for State Delegates’ Conference. Accordingly, officials of the Congress were deployed to various states to act as Returning officers in the elections that are supposed to usher in new leadership in the respective councils in accordance with the statutes governing our operations. This Conference is taking place today Tuesday, the 7th of March everywhere in Nigeria.

“However, the government of Imo State in their usual characteristics sought to influence the outcome of the elections in the State. This meddlesomeness was resisted by the Delegates who refused the unholy offerings and baits to vote for their chosen candidates. The resolve of the Delegates in session did not go down well with the Government and their agents who resorted to the use of violence to beat up delegates and scatter the venue of the Conference.

“When it was obvious to the Government and their goons that their stooges were going to overwhelmingly lose in the elections, thugs who were armed to the teeth descended on the Delegates inflicting various degrees of injuries on them, chasing them away and carting away materials meant for the conduct of the elections that was supposed to be at the heart of the Conference. As if that was not enough, Security agents led by the Police and the so-called State Investigative Bureau invaded the venue and completed the sordid episode.

“It is blood cuddling and inexcusable to mete out this level of violence on workers who gathered peacefully to perform their democratic rights of electing their leaders. Our nation requires great restraint at this time and not this aggressive use of forces of brigandage against the people. Nigerians have suffered enormously and what happened today in Owerri truly deepens the anger of the ordinary citizens and creates more spaces for dangerous eruption in our polity”.


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