Travellers and airlines navigating through Imo State might need to explore alternative options, given the aviation unions’ decision to initiate a complete withdrawal of workers at the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri.
This came even as the unions declared the State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, persona non grata at all airports nationwide until further notice.
The unions which include, the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, and the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, ANAP, actions is coming against the backdrop of brutalisation of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, President Joe Ajaero last week.
Ajaero was reportedly beaten and brutalised by some unidentified persons who claimed to have gotten the directive from the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma.
The NLC leader was beaten up in the state, while operatives of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, allegedly watched, a development that has raised concerns nationwide over the state of the nation.
However, in a statement signed by the unions executive, titled, Special Bulletin To All Aviation Workers Notice Of Strike Action, it reads: “Following the escalation of the imbroglio created by the mayhem unleashed on workers by the Imo State Government of Uzodimma and continued insensitivity of the government over the matter; and in compliance with the directive of the joint NEC session of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, the above named unions, being affiliates of NLC and TUC, hereby direct all aviation workers (both public and private) to withdraw all services to all Owerri flights (inwards and outwards) from any airport in Nigeria with effect from today,
“In addition, the person of Uzodimma, the Governor of Imo State is hereby declared persona non grata at all airports in Nigeria until he purges himself of bestial tendencies.
“Our unions will make further efforts through our international affiliations to blacklist Hope Uzodimma worldwide.
“Furthermore, all aviation workers in Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri are hereby directed to stay at home, also with effect from today as directed by NLC and TUC.
“Based on the above, the State Councils and all branches of the unions will meet today at 5pm in Lagos and Abuja to agree on modalities for carrying out the above directive.
“The meeting in Lagos will hold at NUATE Secretariat, while that of Abuja will be at GAT (pilgrims’ terminal).
“By this notice, the airports’ managements, airlines operating into and out of Owerri, intending airport passengers into and out of Owerri, and the general public are hereby advised about this situation so as to be forewarned.”