THOUSANDS of workers in Kano, Kaduna, Bayelsa and other states across the country on Wednesday, August 2, joined the protests declared by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over economic challenges faced by Nigerians following the removal of petrol subsidy.
In Kano State, workers from various sectors, dressed in red and green caps, and carrying placards with different inscriptions, marched through major streets, chanting slogans and ‘aluta songs’ to demand improved welfare and an end to the current economic hardship.
On July 26, the NLC had threatened an industrial action to express its discontent over the rising cost of living, inadequate social amenities, and the general decline in the standard of living of workers and Nigerians at large.
The labour union vowed that it will commence a nationwide strike from August 2, despite the order of the Industrial Court of Nigeria, which prohibited the congress from going on strike.
The ICIR reports that the government asked the industrial court to prevent members of the labour union from withdrawing their services as it can “disrupt economic activities, the health and education sector”.
Despite the court granting the order pending a date that will be fixed for a hearing of the government’s arguments, the NLC directed all its affiliates and state chapters to begin mobilisation of workers and other Nigerians for a protest and an indefinite industrial strike.
Showing their displeasure over the government’s action, some workers and residents in Kaduna State also took to the street to join the labour protest and demanded for a review of policies introduced by the Federal Government.
Some of the protesters voiced their dissatisfaction through solidarity songs and placards. The State chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had on Tuesday, August 1, called on workers and other citizens to come out in mass to protest against the Federal Government’s poor policies.
In the same vein, workers in Bayelsa State, trooped to the streets, condemning the government’s handling of the economic challenges facing the country.
The protesters, led by the state NLC chairman Simon Barnabas, marched along the Mbiama-Yenagoa Road to the gate of Government House, Yenagoa.
Meanwhile, the protest across these states have been peaceful so far with security forces monitoring the activity.
Protest in FCT
Earlier today, August 2, The ICIR reported that NLC President Joe Ajaero led the protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The protesters gathered at the Unity Fountain in Abuja before moving around some streets to protest against the negative impact of fuel subsidy removal.
Ajaero disclosed that the Police tried to stop the protests in some states, but vowed that nothing will stop the exercise.
“The protest is on; it has taken off in all the states of the federation, barring some constraints, including police efforts to equally stop it in some areas.
“But to be candid with you, there is nothing stopping the protest. Not even an overture or promise of commitment or offer from the government. So I don’t understand why people feel that it will not hold. The protest is on and it will hold,” Ajaero said.
The Inspector General of Police had on Tuesday, August 1, warned labour against embarking on protests that could be hijacked by hoodlums.
NLC president, however, disclosed that the protest was necessary because negotiations between the Federal Government and labour have not yielded any positive results.
“It is equally in our own enlightened self-interest, based on the interest of the state, to determine whether the protest will be for today or tomorrow or next or till thy kingdom come.
“It is not by mere using forces to stop people from expressing their views.”