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  • News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: February 28, 2024

NLC shuts down Abuja, Lagos, other major cities on first day of protest

NLC shuts down Abuja, Lagos, other major cities on first day

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Tuesday, February 27, 2024, carried out its threat of a nationwide protest, shutting down Nigeria's major cities. 

The Labour union had mobilized its members across the country who came out en masse to protest against the lingering economic hardship in the country and against the failed implementation of the outstanding agreement it had with the Nigerian government.

Allnews.ng recalls that the federal government, in a bid to prevent the planned protest, held a last-minute meeting with the union on Monday night. However, it ended in an impasse as the NLC President, Joe Ajaero stated that the demonstration would still go on.

On Tuesday's protest considered to have recorded success across the federation, citizens expressed their frustration over the inability of the current administration to intervene amid the worsening hunger in the country.

Abuja

Joining the organised labour in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for Tuesday's protest were the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, the FCT Council, the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, and the Construction Workers' Union, among others.

All involved parties reportedly converged on Abuja's Labour House Headquarters at about 9:36 am, with the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, and former Nigeria Country Director for ActionAid, Ene Obi participating in the exercise.

Baring his mind to newsmen just before the start of the demonstration, Joe Ajaero said, "The government said we should not do rally. They used peaceful means and threats but we are in God’s hands. We are here for a rally so that Mr President will know how Nigerians feel and know where it is pinching us.”

Lagos

Disgruntled Lagos residents gathered in huge numbers in Computer Village, Ikeja, where they kicked against the federal government's failure to implement the agreements they had on October 2, 2023, following the official removal of fuel subsidies.

The protesters demanded a swift intervention on the part of President Bola Tinubu-led administration to alleviate their suffering.

In a press statement the previous day, NLC General Secretary, Ismail Bello called for mobilisation so that the scheduled two-day protest achieves the desired results.

He also used the opportunity to refute a letter sent from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment signed by the Director of Trade Union Services calling for a meeting. According to him, it was an act of mischief aimed at breaking their solidarity.

“We believe that it is laden with mischief with the intention of breaking the solidarity of Nigerian workers and Nigerians in their resolve to peacefully engage the government over the massive hardship that has taken over our nation.

“To this end, Congress requests all Presidents and General Secretaries to continue in their mobilizing efforts towards a successful nationwide protest tomorrow; the 27th and Wednesday, the 28th and refuse to be distracted by such aberrant invitation.

“Once again, let us keep our eyes on the ball and ensure a successful protest as we look forward to seeing you at the barricades!”, part of the statement reads.

Oyo

The protest in Oyo saw Governor Seyi Makinde joining the state's residents in demonstrating against the backdrop of Nigeria's economic woes.

While speaking on the issue, Makinde stated that poverty and hardship in the country had reached critical levels, pointing out that feeding was a problem for many impoverished families amid the added difficulty in getting jobs.

The governor called on all stakeholders and parties to join forces so that solutions could be found to the continued hardship while expressing optimism that good results would come out of the combined effort.

"There is hunger and hardship in the land. We must do something about it", Governor Makinde said.

He further advised the federal government to do the needful and alleviate citizens' suffering, harping on the need for policies to promote growth and job creation.

Jos

Nigerians in Jos, the capital of Plateau State were not left out of the Tuesday's protest as they gathered at Secretariat Flyover Bridge to add their voices to those lamenting the country's economic crisis.

While calling their ordeal terrible, the protesters urged the government to act and protect them from additional suffering.

"We are not happy, Nigerians are not happy with the situation in the country that has caused tremendous misery and suffering for residents, which began immediately after the removal of the oil subsidy.

"It started as a joke and suddenly, the price of petrol which was initially sold at N197 jumped to N530 and then to N670. Today, petrol is sold at more than N700.

"Imagine that we are not up to one year in the life of this present administration and Nigerians are experiencing this kind of thing.

"The exchange rate has also gone to almost N2,000 per dollar and since everything is dependent on the exchange rate, prices of goods and services have also gone up beyond the reach of ordinary Nigerians. Even the students in higher institutions are not finding it easy at all.

“Nigerians are crying over the situation and we are not left out as Labour and we are calling on the Federal Government to arrest the ugly situation quickly, including the security challenge before they get out of control", Eugene Mangji, the state Chairman of the NLC said.

Osogbo

Citizens residing in Osogbo, Osun State capital also joined their comrades in other states by taking to the streets following the 14-day protest notice issued on February 8 to the federal government after their agreement with organised labour on October 2, 2023, failed to be implemented.

Consequently, business activities were paralysed due to the protest which was led by the Osun NLC chairman, Christopher Arapasopo.

According to Punch, the crowd started their march at Freedom Park, Osogbo and made its way through MDS road chanting anti-Tinubu songs.

NLC affiliates that were part of the demonstration include the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria, and Nigeria Union of Journalists, among others.

Additionally, protesters converged under the Olaiya Bridge for over two hours, bringing commercial activities in the area to a halt amid the presence of operatives of the Department of State Security, police, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC. 

Speaking to the masses, ASUU Coordinator for Akure Zone, Dr. Adeola Egbedokun stated, "What Tinubu promised during his electioneering campaign was a reprieve for Nigerians but what we are seeing now is the opposite of that.

"He must immediately come up with solutions. People are hungry and they are angry. We don’t want the situation to go out of hand. There is a need for measures that will immediately address the situation."

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