JUST IN: NLC suspends nationwide protest after 24 hours, issues fresh two-week ultimatum to Tinubu’s government

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has suspended its two-day nationwide protest after 24 hours and issued a fresh 14-day ultimatum to the federal government under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The NLC and other related unions commenced national planned protests on Tuesday over the country’s high cost of living, inflation, insecurity, and hardship.

The protesters carried 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 on the current economic hardship nationwide.

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The protesters headed to the National Assembly where the NLC President Joe Ajaero, presented a letter of demands to President Bola Tinubu through the leadership of the National Assembly.

However, in a communique issued at the end of the National Executive Council meeting and signed by its President Joe Ajaero and General Secretary, Ismail Bello, on Tuesday, the NLC believed that the message from the protests was effectively communicated to the government.

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“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 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,” the communique reads in part.

It, however, also gave the Federal Government a fresh 14-day ultimatum, which will elapse on March 13 for the full implementation of all the October 2, 2023 agreement and other demands presented in its letter during Tuesday’s nationwide protest.

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“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 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 the expiration of the 14 days Government refuses to comply with the demands as contained in the ultimatum.

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

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Meanwhile, Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, has said the protest was needless.

Speaking in an interview on TVC, the president’s spokesman said the Federal Government is doing everything possible to ameliorate hardship in the land.

He said: “Any labour union that is speaking to the concerns of Nigerian families, the pains that are being felt by our people, is absolutely free to do so. It is right that Nigerians speak up in difficult situations.

“The government has been doing everything possible to alleviate those concerns. But we also want to separate the legitimate concerns being expressed by some of the labour unions from people trying to leverage some of the situations in the country to achieve a political agenda.

“We have seen the Trade Union Congress, TUC, pull out of the purported nationwide protest. We have seen the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) pull out of the protest. There is no unanimity behind what NLC is trying to do.

“I believe all legitimate concerns being raised by the unions are being tackled by the administration of President Bola Tinubu.”

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