DSS warns of ‘elements’ planning to hijack, incite violence with workers protest

THE Department of State Services (DSS) has urged the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to shun their planned nationwide protest over the worsening rising cost of living.

In a statement on Wednesday, February 21, the DSS, through its director of public relations and strategic communications, Peter Afunanya, averred that it was within the right of workers to protest.

It, however, urged them to abort the protest to allow public order. The Service alleged that some ‘elements’ were planning to hijack the protest to cause violence.

The DSS said it opposed violence to address current challenges, be they economic, political or otherwise, assuring that the Service would work with sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure that lasting peace is maintained in the country.

On February 16, The ICIR reported that the workers’ unions declared a two-day nationwide mass protest for February 27 and 28 over the worsening hardship in the country.

The NLC president, Joe Ajaero, said the decision to protest was made after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government over hardship across the country.

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The ICIR reports that in addition to tackling hardship, the workers gave the 14-day ultimatum to pressure the government to honour the 16-point agreement reached with the union on October 2, 2023.

Reacting to the planned protest, the DSS urged parents and guardians to prevail on their children from joining the protest, which it said could jeopardise public safety and peace.



    “The DSS further calls on parties to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engaging in conducts that could heighten tensions. This is more so that the Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and, by extension, widespread violence. The development, without a doubt, will worsen the socio-economic situation across the country.

    “It is common knowledge that all levels of government are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such should be given a benefit of the doubt. So far, appropriate authorities are working assiduously with a spectrum of stakeholders to fashion out modalities to address the current difficulties. They should, therefore, be given the chance to handle the challenges at hand,” the statement noted.

    According to the Service, all levels of government are experiencing pains faced by other citizens and are working to ameliorate the crisis.

    “Additionally, all sectors, including political parties, opposition groups, religious and traditional institutions, civil society and non-governmental bodies, are called upon to eschew violence and demonstrate leadership and statesmanship in these challenging times. Making political capital out of the current situation or involving in divisive utterances at a time like this will be of no benefit to any peace-loving Nigerian. Citizens are advised to be vigilant and not allow fifth columnists and hostile forces or agents to use them to destabilise the peace of the nation,” the Service stated.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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