The well advertised protests called by the organised labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, took off Wednesday and was successfully staged in several cities and state capitals, with activities grinding to a near total halt in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The protests held successfully in different states of the
The well advertised protests called by the organised labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, took off Wednesday and was successfully staged in several cities and state capitals, with activities grinding to a near total halt in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The protests held successfully in different states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Ebonyi, Oyo, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, Ebonyi, Osun, Gombe, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, Taraba and Edo with the NLC President Joe Ajaero saying that the NLC would continue to protest until the government responds to its demands.
But, what appeared a ray of hope that a truce may soon be reached between Labour and the federal government emerged in the afternoon when an invitation for a meeting was extended to Labour leaders by President Tinubu. A crucial meeting where solutions could be found to the demands of labour held but it doesn’t appear there is a way out yet.
But, the NLC President said the meeting with the President was encouraging and progress was being made. “The President himself is a pro-democracy person who understands the meaning of protests”, he said after the meeting adjourned to reconvene tomorrow Thursday.
From all the indications, the protests are yet to be called off by organised labour. The NLC President said Labour will make its decision whether to continue or not known on Thursday. Earlier, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that the response of the government will determine the duration of its ongoing protest. “It is not by using forces to stop people from expressing their views,” Ajaero said.
The workers, protesting the removal of fuel subsidy at the National Assembly pulled down the main gate leading into the complex. The protesters, on the platform of the Nigeria Labour Congress (TUC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) forced their way to the National Assembly complex despite the resistance of security operatives.
In Lagos, the protest was not wide spread and didn’t last for too long. As early as 7:00 am, workers started gathering at Ikeja under the Bridge and walked down gathering momentum until they got to the seat of power at Alausa, where they were addressed by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Hamzat who assured them that their demands would be looked into.
The protest was largely peaceful as some workers of the state government did not join as they went about their normal duties, the workers marched to the LSHA. The workers in Lagos, in addition to the general labour demands were also demanding what they called special conditions peculiar to the situation of workers in the state. They want to enjoy what they called city allowance.
The protest resulted in a massive gridlock in the area, with protesters displaying placards and chanting slogans denouncing the subsidy removal and expressing their grievances against the rising cost of living. The demonstrators demanded the immediate action from the government to address the impact of the subsidy removal on ordinary citizens, who are already grappling with economic challenges.
Mr. Femi Falana, SAN addressed the protesters in Lagos and urged the federal government to attend to the requests of the workers while looking into the corruption that has plagued the oil sector in Nigeria.
There was confusion in Osun state among the labour unions and other civil societies over the venue of convergence for the protest against government economic policies on Wednesday. It was gathered that the unions and civil society organisations had agreed to converge at the popular Nelson Mandela Freedom Park and proceed to other strategic location.
However, in the 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.
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.