Subsidy Removal: NLC Nationwide Protests Kick Off in Lagos, Kano, and Abuja

Following the August 2nd ultimatum, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has taken to the streets of Abuja, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Kano, and various states across the nation to protest the Federal Government’s failure to meet their demands.

Despite government representatives’ efforts to engage in discussions with NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) officials, the talks hit a stalemate, leading to the continuation of the scheduled strike.

Reports from different locations, including Abuja, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, and more, indicate a significant participation of Nigerians joining the ranks of the protesters.

In Lagos: Heavy security was present at the Ikeja under-bridge as members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) commenced nationwide protests against the removal of petrol subsidy.

In Abuja: Distinguished figures, including Festus Osifo, the President of TUC, Joe Ajaero, the National President of NLC, Muhammed Ibrahim, the National President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, and representatives from the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the National Union of Road Transport Workers, joined the procession from the Unity Fountain in Abuja. Protesters chanted, “Allow Nigerians to breathe, don’t suffocate us.”

In Kano: The Kano State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) actively participated in the nationwide protest organized by the national body. Kabiru Inuwa, the Chairman of NLC in Kano, emphasized the union’s non-political stance and commitment to not using the lives of Nigerians as a political tool. He expressed surprise and dismay at the government’s attempt to halt the protest through a court order, perceiving it as an unfriendly gesture towards the citizens of Nigeria.

Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, the State Secretary to the Government, promised to submit the NLC’s request to the State Governor for onward transmission to the Federal Government at the Government House roundabout.

In Akwa Ibom: The protest began from the state secretariat, with protesters being escorted by a tight police squad. They are expected to move around the metropolis and conclude at the Government House.

The NLC had recommended to the Federal Government to put sufficient palliative measures in place to mitigate the impact of fuel subsidy removal.

In response, the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu provided five hundred billion naira (N500bn), representing half of the funds saved since the fuel subsidy removal, as palliatives.

Subsequently, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress engaged in a meeting with the Federal Government, which concluded without reaching an agreement.

The NLC maintained its stance that the scheduled protest against fuel subsidy removal would proceed as planned today.

“We’re on the same page, like the TUC national president said. Yeah, we met today (yesterday), 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, analyzed 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 N1 trillion from subsidy removal,” Deputy President of NLC, Titus Amba said after their meeting yesterday.

The nationwide protest seeks to draw the attention of the Nigerian government to the difficulties and challenges faced by its citizens.

-Jesse Voyamba

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