The incident occurred at the NLC secretariat in Owerri, where Ajaero and fellow NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) leaders, along with several journalists and protesters, were subjected to an attack.
During this unfortunate episode, unidentified individuals, suspected to be agents of the state, descended upon the labor leaders and demonstrators, vandalizing vehicles, causing injuries, and stealing personal belongings, including mobile phones, money, and ATM cards.
The labor leaders had gathered at the NLC State secretariat to initiate a planned protest ahead of a scheduled strike on Thursday. The protest was intended to address various labor-related issues, including the long-standing problem of unpaid salaries and allowances, among other grievances against the Imo State government.
Among the grievances cited were the government's failure to honor previous agreements, outstanding salary arrears, wrongful categorization of workers as ghost workers, the destruction of the NLC state secretariat, differential pay scales, and unpaid gratuity arrears.
Additional concerns included non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage, intimidation and harassment of trade union leaders, the use of violence and thuggery, misappropriation of union dues, unjust categorization of pensioners as non-existent, systematic harassment and intimidation of the workforce, resistance to social dialogue and collective bargaining, and interference with workers' democratic processes.
Prince Williams Akporeha, the President of NUPENG, strongly condemned the arrest and brutalization of Joe Ajaero, stating, "We vehemently denounce the actions of the agents of the Imo State Government and the violence and brutality unleashed on labor leaders, workers, and others. Such uncivilized behavior has no place in a democracy, and we cannot accept it."
“The workers of Imo State must be freed. We are determined to free the state workers because injury to one is to all.”