Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma has apologized to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Joe Ajaero, for the assault on him by alleged loyalists of the governor in connivance with the Imo State Police command.
The governor said the attack on Ajaero is regrettable to him and the government, insisting he would never support violence.
Uzodinma made the apology during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Thursday. He said he was unaware that Ajaero was in the state and that he condemned the action as soon as he learned of it.
He said, “I was unaware that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) president was in my state. What I did was that to condemn the action. I have never had disagreement with the labour union.”
“It has nothing to do with my government. Whether Joe Ajaero is the President of NLC or not, I will not wish this to happen to any human being. Of course, I have to apologise because it happened in my state.
‘I am a Christian and believe in God. I can’t support violence. I can never support violence. Whatever happened to Joe Ajaero in my state which I am not aware of that led to him being assaulted must be regretted by both my government and myself.
The governor also urged Ajaero to act more civilly in the future.
The assault on Ajaero occurred last week while he was leading a protest against the non-payment of salaries to workers in the state. Ajaero was allegedly beaten and manhandled by the police and the governor’s loyalists.
The incident has sparked outrage from the NLC and other labor unions, who have accused the Imo State government of brutality and intimidation.
The governor’s apology is a welcome step, but it remains to be seen whether he will take concrete steps to address the grievances of the workers and to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.