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NLC suspends protest, gives FG fresh 14-day deadline



NLC protest

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called off the nationwide protest scheduled for Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the National Labour Council and other associated unions began national scheduled rallies against the country’s high cost of living, inflation, instability, and hardship.

The protesters wielded placards such as #End Poverty and Hunger. Support Local Industries; Fix Local Refineries; End Subsidy; End Naira Devaluation; Tax the Rich; Subsidise the Poor; to make their grievances known about the current economic hardship across the country.

The demonstrators marched to the National Assembly, where NLC President Joe Ajaero handed President Bola Tinubu a letter of demands through the National Assembly’s leadership.

However, in a communiqué issued at the end of the National Executive Council meeting and signed by President Joe Ajaero and General Secretary Ismail Bello on Tuesday, the NLC stated that the demonstrations’ message had been effectively transmitted to the government.

“The NEC of Congress, in session on Friday, February 16, 2024, ordered a two-day nationwide protest to join Nigerians in demonstrating outrage over the massive suffering and hunger facing the masses and workers as a result of the policies of the government to hike the price of Premium Motor Spirit and float the naira.

“The NEC-in-session, therefore, reviewed the execution of the first day of the nationwide protest to assess its effectiveness and take a decision on the further necessary action to guide Congress in its effort at engaging the 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 at the hardship imposed by the government and its twin altars, the IMF and the World Bank.

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

It did, however, issue the Federal Government a new 14-day deadline, which will expire on March 13, for the full fulfilment of all the October 2, 2023 accord and other requests given in its letter during Tuesday’s statewide demonstration.

“Consequently, NEC-in-session resolved as follows: to suspend street action for the second day of the protest, having achieved overwhelming success and 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 seven-day ultimatum by another seven days, which now expires on the 13th day of March 2024, within which the government is expected to implement all the earlier agreements 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, after the expiration of the 14-day period, the government refuses to comply with the demands as contained in the ultimatum.

“Once again, the NEC recommits the NLC to continuing to defend and promote the interests and desires of Nigerian workers and the downtrodden masses,” it stated.