Police Tighten Security As Labour Union Begins Nationwide Protest 

The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Olukayode Egbetokun, has ordered tight security across the country ahead of planned protests and has warned the labour leaders that the Force would not in any way tolerate violent protest during their demonstration billed to hold on Wednesday. 
The IGP, according to the Force spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said while the Force was mindful of the right to peaceful protest as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, all parties involved should ensure the planned demonstrations were conducted in a peaceful manner.
He said the labour leaders should ensure that they prevent the demonstration from being hijacked by miscreants, sequel to the previous ugly experiences of such protests in most major cosmopolitan cities in the country.
He called on all officers to be vigilant, professional and uphold the highest standards of conduct during this period.
Adejobi said, “A peaceful and coordinated approach is crucial to achieving meaningful solutions and preventing any form of violence or disruptions to public order, should the protests persist.
“The Nigeria Police Force reiterated its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all citizens during the period of the planned protests as all necessary measures to facilitate the peaceful conduct of these demonstrations have been emplaced.
“However, it is hereby reaffirmed that any attempt by miscreants to exploit the situation for violent purposes viz-a-viz vandalism, gangsterism and extortion will be met with firm, professional and commensurate lawful approach.
“The police will not tolerate any act that threatens the peace and well-being of our country,” he said.
Meanwhile, the organised labour has said its planned nationwide mass protests against the federal government’s “anti-masses” policies will begin today.
NLC President Joe Ajaero, confirmed this to reporters at the Labour House in Abuja yesterday.
The organised labour’s decision to go ahead with the planned protest, which they said would be sustain until their demands were met, came less than 20 hours after President Bola Tinubu rolled out additional promises to cushion the effect of subsidy removal, which pushed the price of petrol to over N600 per litre with concomitant effect of other basic necessities.
He described reports that labour had suspended the protest as the handiwork of mischief-makers working against the wishes of Nigerians.
He said the meeting the organised labour held with the representatives of the federal government at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday had not changed anything. The organised labour had given the government a one-week notice to begin a nationwide strike on August 2.
It accused the government of failing to meet its demands following the petrol subsidy removal, which had caused the fuel price to rise to N615/litre.
The NCL president yesterday directed the state councils of the congress to mobilise heavily for the action.
 “We have neither reconsidered nor suspended the nationwide mass protest. We want to inform all Nigerians that we have just risen from a meeting with the federal government where we sought to get them to listen to the demands of the people and workers of Nigeria.
“The outcome of this meeting earlier today has, however, not changed anything or the course, which we have set for ourselves tomorrow as custodians of the interests and desires of Nigerian workers and people.
“Nigerians are advised to ignore the work of fifth columnists who are working hard against the wishes of the people. We urge everyone to gather in our respective states and wherever we may be across the nation to give vent to this collective resolve. Once again, the nationwide mass protest will start tomorrow (today),” Ajaero said.
It listed their demands as including immediate implementation in good faith, of their resolutions with the congress jointly signed with the government and the TUC as well as “immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the government such as hike in school fees of tertiary institutions and fuel price”.
Other demands are fixing of local refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna; release of eight months withheld salaries of university lecturers and workers; accord appropriate recognition and support to the presidential steering committee and the work of its sub-committees and put a stop to inhumane actions and policies of government.
Earlier after the villa’s meeting yesterday, the president of the Trade Union Congress, Festus Osifo, had told reporters while the measures announced by President Bola Tinubu in his national broadcast on Monday were welcoming, they were not far-reaching and comprehensive enough as there were significant gaps.
Osifo had said the labour would consult with its members to reach a consensus on the next course of action before the day ends.
He said the unions expressed the need for further action and highlighted that 3,000 buses were inadequate, and requested between 30,000 and 40,000 buses would be more suitable.
He said the government requested that the protests be shelved. Osifo said the unions responded by stating that they would have further discussions and provide their response at the end of those discussions on Tuesday.
On the minimum wage, the TUC president said the unions called for wage awards above the minimum wage, similar to what some states had announced.
He said the unions were of the opinion that the government should do more, considering their claim of saving N1trn from fuel subsidy. He said: “So, we came here yesterday and we told Nigerians that we’ll be meeting today by 12 noon.
“We came here much later. We had a conversation. Again, the government team told us that what the president has put on the table, it’s more or less like a starting point, and it’s a baseline.
“So, we on our part also said yes that we would not be surprised if that is everything that will be put forward because for us, we said that there are some gaps.
“For us, we felt that the president has said that N1 trillion has been saved in the last two months, that what has been proposed is not far reaching. And that for us, now as part of the principle of negotiation, when anything is put on the table, you’ll accept but you’ll push for more. So, on our path, we’ve said that what you have put on the table is not sufficient, is not enough, and that they can do more.
“Part of what we put forward was that, we’ll look at those things that Mr President highlighted and some of the things they have also mentioned.
“We think, for example, that 3000 buses are not sufficient. By the time you divide 3000 by 37, you will see how many they would come up to. So, it’s not sufficient, it’s grossly inadequate. Then, we also think, as well, that some of the measures put on the table are not far reaching.
“So, we are also going to demand for what we think will do. If we think 30,000, 40,000 buses could do it in the immediate, yes, we’ll push it forward.”
On the appeal to shelve the protest, he said, “Then on the government part, you ask something about the protests, yes they also appealed that we should shelve the protest. Our response was that we are going to go back this evening and also have a conversation around that and you will hear from us at the end of that conversation.”
On where they stood on minimum wage, Osifo said: “Yes, so it’s part of what we said, on our path, what we’re demanding was wage award.
“For example, you have heard some states say they will be paying N40, 000 minimum…It is not the law but they are doing above the minimum wage.
“So, for us, we felt that the federal government could do above the minimum wage without much conversation. Because, the committee on the minimum wage has not been constituted.  We want to be very clear on that, that committee has not been constituted.
“But what we have been advocating for the path of labour is wage awards that don’t have much bureaucracy.
“Because the law that prescribed minimum wage says every five years, until you amend that, no other thing can kick in.
“But we said for the immediate, let the federal government come with a wage award just like some state governments have announced that they will be paying N40,000 or N50,000. So they should do something like that.
“We have also heard some states saying that they’re going to pay a PMS allowance of XYZ amount.
“So those are the wage awards that we were thinking of and we are pushing the government to do.”
Asked if any agreement had been reached on the protests, he said, “No, no because what they have proposed, like you heard what the President said yesterday, for us, we are taking that as a baseline.
“We believe strongly that if the president said they saved N1 trillion, they should do more.
“If you take your calculator, you check 3000 buses that will give you something around less than 100 per state. So we feel that it is not adequate. We feel that if the government said on their own that they have saved N1 trillion that we can do much more.”
The National Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Titus Amba, collaborated the position of the TUC president, saying they were returning to consult with labour leaders.
Kindly share this story:
Kindly share this story:
Share on whatsapp
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on facebook
Top News

Related Articles