Nationwide Protests by Organised Labour Demand Economic Reforms Amidst Fuel Subsidy Removal

In response to the nationwide protests by organised labour over the removal of fuel subsidies, banks, offices, and businesses were shut down in many parts of the country. The protesters demanded a minimum wage of N200,000 for workers and other palliatives to ease the impact of the subsidy removal. Led by the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, the labour leaders met with President Bola Tinubu to discuss their grievances.

During the protest, economic and commercial premises were shut down in parts of the Federal Capital Territory and Abakaliki, causing inconvenience to many travelers who were left stranded. The protesters demanded an immediate reversal of the increase in fuel prices, school fees, and Value Added Tax, along with the fixing of all modular refineries in the country to reduce dependency on fuel importation.

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Senator Ali Ndume, representing the President of the Senate, urged the protesters to give the Senate one week to address their demands. He assured them that a committee had been set up to look into their grievances and find a resolution.

Despite the protests, security personnel faced a mild confrontation when the protesters pulled down the gate at the National Assembly complex to interact with lawmakers. The NLC president disputed President Tinubu’s claim that N1 trillion had been saved since the subsidy removal, stating that the committee set up to negotiate with the unions revealed no savings.

In various states, the protests were peaceful but affected economic activities. Labour leaders urged the government to reverse the removal of fuel subsidies and address the hardships faced by the citizens. The organised labour expressed its concerns about the impact of the protests on the private sector and the overall economy, stating that they are considering the next course of action in an emergency National Executive Council meeting.

As the situation unfolded, President Tinubu promised immediate intervention to reduce economic hardships and agreed to reconstitute the Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives. The labour leaders will review the commitments made during the meeting with President Tinubu before deciding whether to suspend the protests. However, the Presidency announced that labour leaders agreed to end the protests following their meeting with the President.

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