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Attack Our Protesters, Risk Total Shutdown – NLC Warns FG

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it is aware of plans by state-sponsored persons to attack its rallies scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Should such attacks occur, the NLC said, it would order its members to totally down tools and possibly bring the Nigerian economy to a halt.

“… if we are attacked there will be a total shutdown via withdrawal of services by workers. Let no one be deceived, we and other deprived Nigerians cannot easily be intimidated,” NLC President Joe Ajaero wrote in a statement on Sunday.

Mr Ajaero named a group which it said: “is one of the emergency groups put together, funded, promoted and remote-controlled by government to cause violence against our members for electing to peacefully protest against the hunger in the land.”

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the NLC scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the cost of living crisis in the country caused by government policies, particularly the removal of petrol subsidy and the floating of the naira.

The workers’ union accused the government of failing to honour its promises to ensure policies and programmes are put in place for workers to limit the impact of the petrol subsidy removal. While food prices have gone up over 200 per cent since the Bola Tinubu administration came on board, public workers’ salaries have yet to be increased despite the government setting up committees to work out an increase.

The government has appealed to the labour unions to shelve the strike, saying it is working hard to limit the negative impact of its policies on workers. The police have also cautioned that they would allow peaceful protests but they would not allow such protests to disturb people who are not interested in taking part in it. However, the NLC insisted on the strike.

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In his Sunday statement, Mr Ajaero reiterated that the labour congress and its affiliate unions would embark on its protest despite the alleged threat of disruption.

“We would want the State to know that the solution to our horrible economic situation and hunger is not by suppressing peaceful dissent or inflicting violence on peacefully protesting citizens as the government did in Minna and other cities where its agents tear-gassed and beat up women before locking them up for raising their voice against hunger. It does not lie in the deployment of State-sponsored terror. The pangs of hunger cannot be cowed by bullets or tear gas,” he wrote.

Read Mr Ajaero’s full statement below.

AS THE STATE PREPARES TO UNLEASH VIOLENCE ON US
We would want to inform Nigerians that the State has perfected plans to attack our peaceful rallies across the country.

One of the groups being primed to attack our peaceful rallies is by a nebulous name, Nigeria Civil Society Forum (NCSF).

NCSF is one of the emergency groups put together, funded, promoted and remote-controlled by government to cause violence against our members for electing to peacefully protest against the hunger in the land.

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We would want the State to know that the solution to our horrible economic situation and hunger is not by suppressing peaceful dissent or inflicting violence on peacefully protesting citizens as the government did in Minna and other cities where its agents tear-gassed and beat up women before locking them up for raising their voice against hunger. It does not lie in the deployment of State-sponsored terror. The pangs of hunger cannot be cowed by bullets or tear gas.

In light of this, we at the Nigeria Labour Congress and civil society allies are moving ahead with our protest rallies against economic hardship and insecurity in line with the decision of the National Executive Council.

As citizens, we have a fundamental right to peaceful protest and history bears us witness that our protests are always peaceful except in instances of State-engineered violence.

In light of this, we advise the State to put on its thinking cap and find solutions to the pains it continues to cause the people instead of further dehumanising them.

However, if it is irrevocably set on the path of violence against us and other peace-loving Nigerians, it will be making a costly mistake because if we are attacked there will be a total shutdown via withdrawal of services by workers. Let no one be deceived, we and other deprived Nigerians cannot easily be intimidated.

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Lest those in power now who may have forgotten be reminded, we faced a more resourceful and resilient adversary in order to have democracy. All we are saying now is that; let there be food for the people, _let the people live in safety, let the people live a life of dignity devoid of suffocating IMF/World Bank economic policies.

Once again we advise those waiting in the wings to unleash violence on us that this is not about the NLC but about Nigerians who are saying “enough is enough”, about a people who have resolved not to be further pushed into the pit of misery and hopelessness, while a few live in obscene luxury at our collective expense.

We are by this statement calling the attention of the international human rights body and the governments of the African Union and the United Nations that the right of the people to peacefully protest and demand for freedom from economic slavery and hardship is being threatened by the Nigerian State.

We however remain resolute, determined and prepared to express our pain and grief in a peaceful manner as Nigerians come 27th and 28th of February 2024.

Comrade Joe Ajaero
President.

Starpotter

A Professional blogger and Entertainer. An extremely calm-headed guy.... Maybe naughty. lol

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