Labour declares nationwide mass protest over hardship

THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared a two-day nationwide mass protest for February 27 and 28 over the worsening hardship in the country.

The NLC president, Joe Ajaero, stated this at the Labour House headquarters during an emergency press conference on Friday, February 16.

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.

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

The unions had accused the Federal Government of failing to implement the agreement.

“It is regrettable that we are compelled to resort to such measures, but the persistent neglect of the welfare of citizens and Nigerian workers and the massive hardship leave us with no choice.

“Constrained by this development and recognising the urgency of the situation and the imperative of ensuring the protection and defence of the rights and dignity of Nigerian workers and citizens, the NLC and TUC hereby issue a stern ultimatum to the Federal Government to honour their part of the understanding within 14 days from tomorrow, the 9th day of February 2024,” the union had said in a statement.

The workers fresh warning came few days after the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) said it would commence a nationwide strike from February 27 should the Federal government refuse to implement the agreement it entered into with the association in 2020.

The Kogi State chairman of AMBCN, Adeniyi Gabriel, while speaking with newsmen on Tuesday, February 13, said the notice was contained in a joint statement by the national president of the association, Mansur Umar, and the national secretary, Jude Okafor.

Gabriel said the organisation was shutting down due to the significant rise in prices of baking materials, including flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable oil, and fuel such as petrol and diesel, triggered by subsidy removal and forex deregulation, alongside multiple taxation imposed by Federal Government agencies.

The ICIR reports that there has been an astronomical increase in the prices of goods since President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of the fuel subsidy on May 29, 2023, the day he took over power.

Tinubu’s declaration immediately led to fuel queues as many retailers shut their filling stations, hoarding their stock and creating scarcity with a view to hiking fares later.






     

     

    Two days later, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCLtd) officially increased the pump price of petrol by over 200 per cent.

    The NNPCL, in a template sent to marketers, confirmed the sharp rise in the pump price of the product, with the minimum being N488 per litre obtainable in Lagos, while it would be as high as N557 per litre in Maiduguri.

    The fuel pump price has since increased, leading to a sharp rise in the cost of transportation on the different routes as commercial cab drivers transfer the additional cost of petrol on passengers.      

    Although one of the ways to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government was the disbursement of N5 billion in financial support to each of the country’s 36 states, many Nigerians have yet to feel the impact.

    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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