Labour leads agitation across the country as protesters invade National Assembly

The Organised Labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and their affiliate unions, today kicked off a protest in Abuja and in Lagos, Abia, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Zamfara, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kwara, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, and Edo.

The protesters in Abuja, led by the leaders of the NLC President, Joe Ajaero and TUC President, Festus Osifo asked security operatives stationed at the legislative building to open the gate to allow the angry workers express their displeasure.

Following the failure of the security officials to adhere, angry protesters pulled down the gate and subsequently moved to the second gate of the Assembly Complex.

Earlier hundreds of protesters had assembled at the Unity Fountain Abuja, from where they marched to the NASS Complex.

The National President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Muhammed Ibrahim, representatives of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, National Union of Road Transport Workers among others were also present for the protest to reverse some of the policies which the NLC tagged “unfriendly” and “anti-poor”.

In Lagos, there was heavy security on ground at the Ikeja under-bridge in Lagos as members of NLC commenced nationwide protests over the removal of petrol subsidy.

The labour union had advised the Federal Government to provide enough palliatives that would cushion the effects of the removal of fuel removal and price increase  generally.

On Monday President Tinubu provided N500bn, half of what the Government saved since the removal of fuel subsidy, as palliatives.

On Tuesday a meeting between the NLC and TUC with government representatives  ended in a deadlock.

NLC insisted that its planned protest against fuel subsidy removal would hold today.

“We’re on the same page, like the TUC national president said. Yeah, we met today, and we discussed based on what we all left yesterday, with the mind of coming back today. We all listened to the President’s speech with an appeal that time should be given to this very government.

“We sat down, analysed it very, very well, and we came up with some issues, which I believe you heard from the TUC President where he said the president of this country did mention that within two months, the government of Nigeria was able to save at least N1trillion from subsidy removal”, Deputy President of NLC, Titus Amba said after the stalemate.

On the streets members of the NLC were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions such as ‘End fuel price increase, fix local refineries, stop naira devaluation’ etc.

The nationwide protest is to bring to notice the hardship the citizens of Nigerians are passing through to the Nigerian Government.

Meanwhile, there was confusion in Osun state among the labour unions and other civil societies over venue of convergence for the schedule protest against government economic policies on Wednesday.

The unions and Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, had agreed to converge at the popular Nelson Mandela Freedom Park and proceed to other strategic location.

However, at early hours on Wednesday the Freedom Park was initially deserted as members of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, in the State changed the venue of the protest to Centre for Black Culture, a venue far away from the city centre.

Members of the CSOs that arrived Freedom Park at 9am were redirected to Centre for Black Culture behind Government Secretariat in the State, but turned down the directives and stayed put for others to arrive.

When contacted, the TUC Chairman, Adekola Adebowale said the Union decided to hold it protest at the centre and urged other organizations to join it.

However, the CSOs along with other union such as Nigeria Union of Electricity workers, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU are presently moving round strategic location with the protest.

The NLC President, in an interview with Channels TV at Unity Fountain in the FCT on Wednesday disclosed that response of the government and not the use of force will determine the duration of the ongoing protest.

Ajaero said it is in the interest of the NLC to determine based on the response of the State whether the protest should be for today, tomorrow or till thy kingdom come but not by using forces to stop people from expressing their views.

Credible News recalls that Tinubu announced in his inaugural address as President to the nation on May 29 that “fuel subsidy is gone”.

The fuel price per liter has since increased from N185 to N617 in different parts of the country.

On the basis of the rising cost of living in the country, the union issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse its ‘anti-people’ policies.

The demands of the NLC include an increase to the current minimum wage, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers, and a reversal in the increase of public school fees.

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