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February 23, 2024

Hardship: Anti-NLC protest rocks Abuja over planned strike

Hardship: Anti-NLC protest rocks Abuja over planned strike

By Omeiza Ajayi

Thousands of Nigerian youths under the aegis of Nigeria Civil Society Forum (NCSF) on Friday protested in Abuja against plans by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a warning strike to press home for better conditions of service in the wake of the current hardship in the country.

The youths, who trooped out in their numbers in a show of solidarity with President Bola Tinubu and his administration, said the president is not a magician to turn around the fortunes of the country in a few months.

The youths in their thousands, carrying various anti-Nigeria Labour Congress NLC placards, urged Nigerians to ignore calls by the unions for a nationwide protest against hunger.

Addressing journalists at the Unity Fountain before marching to the National Assembly, co-convener of the forum, Comrade Sunday Attah, said Nigerian youths won’t allow the NLC and their collaborators to plunge Nigeria into anarchy.

He said, “We must understand the trajectory of how the NLC has operated over time. Remember in this same country when fuel subsidy was removed they got up and claimed to be standing for Nigerians. They fought and said fuel subsidy should not be removed but after series of meetings, which of course today they are saying didn’t yield any fruit and matters died on the ground. 

“We are not going to allow the NLC to plunge Nigeria into anarchy. Calling for protest against an eight months old government is uncalled for. 

“The President is doing all his best. He is not a magician. All that Nigerians need at the moment is to be patient with the president. When a woman gets pregnant, it takes nine months for her to deliver and when the child is born it takes another one to two years for the child to walk. Why can’t the NLC support Mr President to deliver dividends of democracy and to fulfill all his campaign promises.

“What the NLC is doing is to play the normal card of getting the sympathies of Nigerians, go behind and negotiate. President Bola Tinubu is not that kind of president. He wants to work for all Nigerians and this is the reason why the president said give me time. My policies may take a little time for us to adjust.

These things happened even in civilised societies where government policies do not start manifesting and yielding fruits overnight it takes a little process of time and that is the process we are at the moment. 

“Today, we heard that State governors are not finding it difficult to pay salaries. For example my state where I come from, the governor pays on 25th of the month. That is because the allocations going to states have been increased by Mr President, courtesy of all the reforms that he has brought.”

Also speaking, the Convener of the CSO forum, Comrade Terrence Kuanum, gave the Union leaders 24 hours to rescind the decision of the protest and go back to the negotiating table with the government.

According to Kuanum, Nigerians are truly hungry but it is not by sabotaging the system or antagonising the system that we can resolve this issue.

He said: “So we are suspecting that for NLC that within the ranks of government, because if you call a strike today you will expect government to sit with you on the table and negotiate. You are already at the table with the government, all of us want you to bring solution from that negotiation table so that Nigerians will cushion the effects of what they’re going through and we want this process to be properly done so that nobody will go anywhere sabotaging the system. We are against sabotage in the system. 

“I am hungry, you are hungry but it is not by sabotaging the system or antagonising the system that we can resolve this issue. We can only resolve this issue as patriotic Nigerians that are concerned that we need to resolve this problem and the generation next to us doesn’t face it. 

“We are giving them 24 hours to rescind the decision of the protest and go back to the table that we have agreed that they should be on it. If they come out we are calling on Nigerians not to respect any decision that will come from NLC and TUC because we are going to mobilise the masses to stay back and work for this country. No strike can solve this problem. You go on strike to get the attention of policy makers, you are already with the policy makers so what is the essence of the strike if not that someone is sponsoring a sabotage.”