The arrest and violent attack of the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr. Joe Ajero, in Owerri, has been condemned by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Tony Ojukwu described the attack as a reprehensible act, a flagrant violation of human rights and an affront to the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
He stated this in a statement issued by the Director of Corporate Affairs and External Linkages Department, Agharese Arase on Thursday in Abuja.
The statement reads, “Brutality on Mr. Joe Ajero, a senior labor leader, represents impunity and a direct attack on the fundamental rights of individuals to associate and express their views and opinions freely, which is the cornerstone of a democratic society like ours.
“The Commission reiterates that in a democratic nation like Nigeria, the right to peaceful protest and freedom of expression must be respected and upheld no matter how uncomfortable law enforcement agents feel.”
He called on the relevant authorities to investigate the incident, bring the perpetrators to justice, and ensure that such acts of brutality are neither repeated nor tolerated.
“It is essential that those responsible for this brutality are held accountable for their actions, serving as a clear message that such behavior will not be tolerated in our society,” he said.
Ojukwu said it is unethical to use force and violence to arrest unarmed civilians, adding that this brutal act is against international best practices for the promotion and protection of human rights.
He said the Commission is committed to upholding human rights, protecting freedom of expression, and ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals in the country.
The statement called upon law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint and uphold the principles of democracy and respect for human rights when dealing with unarmed civilians while enforcing law and order.
“Together, we can build a society where every citizen’s rights and freedoms are safeguarded, respected, and tolerated, where acts of violence and intimidation have no place,” the statement added.