Flight Ban: There Should Be Consequences, Say Imo Elders

The Imo Elders Council believes that the actions of organised labour in Imo State should have consequences.

Actions taken by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) to protest an attack on NLC President Joe Ajaero were deemed “unique in the history of the world” by the group on Thursday.

Senator Chris Anyanwu, one of the elders who addressed the press in Owerri, the state capital, suggested that the best course of action for Ajaero and Labour would be to sit down with the administration and work out their differences amicably.

On Wednesday, right before a planned protest in the state to get the state administration to listen to the concerns of the workers in the state, Ajaero was attacked in Owerri.

Since then, the NLC and the TUC have declared a nationwide strike beginning on November 14, 2023, and they have ordered the shutdown of key services in Imo as a form of protest for the attack on Ajaero.

On Wednesday, aviation unions in Nigeria urged its members to withdraw services to all public and private Owerri flights (both inwards and outwards) with effect from midnight.

According to the unions, the strike will continue indefinitely because the NLC and the TUC have not issued any new directives.

On Thursday, protesters from the Labour Party halted all flights at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

Anyanwu, a former senator representing the state’s Imo West Senatorial District, told the media, “There is no crisis in Imo State,” when discussing the position of the Imo Elders Council ahead of the upcoming governorship election on November 11, 2023. Whatever is occurring with the NLC is not going to undermine the election because Imo people are ready.”

She criticised Labour for cutting off power and flights, but reminded voters that they have options in this Saturday’s election.

When it comes to air travel, we have several options. On Wednesday, my cousin arrived from Port Harcourt. You have your pick of three different states to go through: Akwa Ibom, Delta, and Anambra. Those who intend to cast a ballot are, therefore, returning. Therefore, it will have little effects on the election.

Their actions have never been seen before in human history. Never in my entire life have I heard of a person being denied entry to an airport. The inhabitants of the Imo built the airport and donated it to the federal government. That sort of behaviour is unacceptable. Some of these drastic actions have to have repercussions, but I believe a solution is currently under negotiation.

Cletus Iluomuanya, the association’s chairman, spoke, as did Mike Okiro, a former inspector general of police; Maurice Iwu, a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); and Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the president general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

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