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NLC Protests hunger, economic hardship despite TUC’s back down

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NLC Protest

Despite threats by the Department of State Security (DSS) to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to protest, the NLC has carried on with its planned national protest on the current hardship its members face. 

 The nationwide protest is about hunger being faced by citizens, the NLC Chairman, Joe Ajaero, said. The chairman said the protest also covers non-workers. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) had backed out from the protest following the threats it received.  

While addressing the press in Abuja, Ajaero said, “The UN said that even the poorest man should be fed on $2 per day. That’s the most impoverished. And if you have a family of six people, $2 per day by six is $12.

“You have $360 monthly, which translates to about N700,000. Is that the minimum wage you’re talking about? Is that what will feed you? That’s feeding alone; I’m not talking about transportation and accommodation. What about medical? What are we saying?

“Well, we don’t tell them what to do. We will tell them how we feel. There was hunger in the land, but it wasn’t this bad until deregulation. And then, after the deregulation, we proposed all that we needed to. If they had solved the transportation problem immediately, they would have solved almost 50% of the problem.

“Because even when you process gari in the village, you must transport it to town. You add the expenses you incurred on transportation to the cost of the gari,”

 Ajaero accused the government of ignoring the NLC demands and declared that the union would review the situation after the protest to know its next step.

“So the moment they touched PMS, you can’t fill your tank with N30,000, N40,000. So when they touched it, we said, ‘OK, bring CNG buses. That was eight months ago; no single bus is on the street.”

“So, we have provided all those solutions, even the cash transfer. They are still telling us that they will start the cash transfer and are playing politics with it, so they were diverting it to their accounts. After today, we review our situation and decide on other steps to be taken,” the NLC chairman said.

Meanwhile, police officers in Lagos State were seen distributing snacks to protesters as they matched on. In the viral video, the officers handed bottled water and biscuits from a van as they drove slowly among the crowd. 

Other states protesting include Bauchi, Plateau, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Oyo, Imo, Abia, Kaduna, Enugu, and Edo States. 

West Africa Weekly is monitoring the peaceful protest closely as it continues tomorrow.

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