Daily Trust

Cost of living crisis: NLC suspends protests

- By our reporters

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)-led protests, against the hardship in the land, were held yesterday in state capitals across the country amid heavy security presence.

Last-minutes efforts by the federal government on Monday to prevent the protests had failed as the NLC had insisted on its twoday mass protests.

However, NLC President Joe Ajaero later last night directed the congress’ members to suspend today’s protest, saying that of yesterday was a great success.

Ajaero gave the directive after an emergency National Executive Council meeting of the NLC.

He said: “The NEC-insession, therefore, reviewed the execution of the first day of the nationwide protest to assess its effectiven­ess and take decision on further necessary action to guide Congress in its effort at engaging government to protect the people and Nigerian workers from the increasing scourge of hardship.

“To this end, NEC commended Nigerians, all NLC affiliates, state councils, workers and civil society allies across the nation for trooping out in large numbers to peacefully demonstrat­e their outrage on the hardship imposed by the government and its twin altars – the IMF and the World Bank.

“NEC also deeply appreciate­s Nigerian workers and masses for sending a strong message to the powers that be on their united resolve to demand accountabi­lity from those who occupy positions of leadership in our nation. It believed that the message has strongly resonated.

“Consequent­ly, NEC-insession resolved as follows: to suspend street action for the second day of the protest having achieved overwhelmi­ng success thus attained the key objectives of the 2-day protest on the first day.

“However, nationwide action continues tomorrow with simultaneo­us press conference­s across all the states of the federation by the state councils of the congress including the National Headquarte­rs.

“To reaffirm and extend the 7-days ultimatum by another 7 days which now expires on

the 13th day of March, 2024 within which the Government is expected to implement all the earlier agreement of the 2nd day of October, 2023 and other demands presented in our letter during today’s nationwide protest.

“To meet and decide on further lines of action if on the expiration of the 14 days government refuses to comply with the demands as contained in the ultimatum.”

Our correspond­ents, who monitored the protests across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory yesterday, reported that they were peaceful.

There were, however, low turnouts of protesters in Kano, Rivers, Ekiti and Plateau States as bakeries, schools and other public places opened for activities.

There was a counter-protest in Abuja, in solidarity with President Bola Tinubu’s administra­tion. It was led by the Network of Civil Society For Economic Sustainabi­lity.

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, who led the labour protest in Abuja yesterday, said: “We are here for a rally so that Mr President will know how Nigerians feel and know where it is pinching us. The government said we should not rally. They used peaceful means and threats but we are in God’s hands.”

Ajaero takes NLC demands to NASS

Ajaero. who led the protesters to the National Assembly Complex in Abuja, handed over the NLC’s letter of demands to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Labour, Employment, and Productivi­ty, Senator Diket Plang.

The demands included full implementa­tion of the welfare provisions, employment generation, immediate subsidy to farmers to boost agricultur­al production and fixing of the four refineries, among others.

Ajaero noted that the minimum wage negotiatio­n had started but the amount was yet to be decided.

Plang assured the protesters that the demands of the NLC would be looked into and discussed immediatel­y.


Labour leaders, during the protest in Akure, Ondo State, urged Tinubu to tax the rich and subsidise the cost of living for the poor.

Victor Amoko, the NLC chairman in the state said, “Let the government reject IMF and World Bank policies so that the entire citizens will have breathing space. Government should instead tax the rich and subsidise the poor. Fix local refineries too and end the subsidy. Stop the school fee increment.”

In Kwara and Niger States, labour leaders also demanded actions that would bring relief to the masses.

Police halt protest in Maiduguri

The anti-terrorism squad, led by the Commission­er of Police in Borno State, advised against protest in Maiduguri.

The NLC chairman in the state, Yusuf Inuwa, said the restrictio­n by the AIG Zone 15, Abdu Umar and the Borno CP, Mohammed Yusufu, was because of the security situation in the state.

He said, “Two to three days ago, there were intelligen­ce reports that some of the surrendere­d Boko Haram insurgents, who have been complainin­g of hunger and threatenin­g to go back to the bush, were planning to sneak in and hijack the protest which could have resulted in a developmen­t more dangerous than we can imagine.”

Security personnel, comprising soldiers, police and civil defence corps officers were also on the grounds in Benue and Edo States also to prevent any breakdown of law and order during the protests.

Lagos CP gives water, biscuits to protesters

The Lagos State Commission­er of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, distribute­d sachet water and biscuits to the protesters.

NLC chairperso­n in the state, Mrs Funmi Sessi, said, “The prices of foodstuffs have gone beyond the reach of Nigerians; the price of rice has gone up and beans as well and every other thing.”


Protesters in Kebbi State, among other things, demanded job creation through industrial­ization as well as payment of wage awards to state and local government workers.

Makinde joins protest in Oyo

Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde joined the protest in Ibadan, saying the hardship had reached an alarming level.

He called on the federal government to take action to alleviate the suffering of the people, emphasisin­g the need for policies that promote growth and job creation.

Bayelsa to reduce work hours

Bayelsa State Governor Douye Diri told protesters that his administra­tion was working towards reducing work hours for civil servants.

Labour leaders in Nasarawa, Sokoto, Adamawa, Taraba, Jigawa, Ogun, Ekiti, Plateau and other states led workers for protests and demanded succor for the masses.

Contributi­ons from

Idowu Isamotu (Abuja), Abdullatee­f Aliyu,

Eugene Agha (Lagos),

Hamisu K. Matazu,

Olatunji Omirin (Maiduguri), Yusufu A. Idegu (Jos), Abubakar Akote (Minna), Peter Moses (Abeokuta), Magaji l. Hunkuyi (Jalingo), Bassey Willie (Yenagoa), Mumini Abdulkaree­m (Ilorin), Raphael Ogbonnaiye (AdoEkiti), Ali R. Ali (Dutse),

Hope Abah (Makurdi),

Usman A. Bello (Benin),

Tosin Tope (Akure),

Nabob Ogbonna (Abakiliki), Ismail Adebayo (Birnin Kebbi), Amina Abdullahi (Yola), Adenike Kaffi (Ibadan), Haruna G. Yaya (Gombe), Salim U. Ibrahim (Kano), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Abubakar Auwal (Sokoto), Iniabasi Umo (Uyo), Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt) &

Umar Muhammed (Lafia)

 ?? PHOTO: ?? NLC President Joe Ajaero (M) and protesters matching to the National Assembly Complex Abuja yesterday Onyekachuk­wu Obi
PHOTO: NLC President Joe Ajaero (M) and protesters matching to the National Assembly Complex Abuja yesterday Onyekachuk­wu Obi

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