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NLC Suspends Nationwide Protest, Issues Fresh Ultimatum

Following a day of nationwide protests addressing hunger in the country, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) announced the suspension of further street demonstrations, originally slated to continue today.

Despite facing subtle warnings from the federal government to deter organized labor from proceeding with the protests, workers persevered and turned out en masse across the nation.

President of the National Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, emphasized the urgent need for the federal government to address the prevailing hunger and economic challenges.

A state-by-state assessment of the protest rallies revealed overall relative success, although turnout in some regions fell short of expectations.

In a communique issued at the conclusion of a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja yesterday, the congress decided to suspend street actions for the second day of the protests, citing the accomplishments of the initial day and the fulfillment of the key objectives originally set for the second day.

The communique, signed by Ajaero and Acting General Secretary, Comrade Ismail Bello, expressed gratitude to Nigerian workers and the masses for effectively conveying a strong message to those in power regarding their collective demand for accountability.

“The NEC-in-session reviewed the execution of the first day of the nationwide protest to assess its effectiveness and determine further necessary action to guide Congress in its efforts to engage the government in protecting the people and Nigerian workers from increasing hardship,” the communique stated.

“In light of the success achieved on the first day, NEC-in-session resolved to suspend street action for the second day of the protest. However, nationwide action will continue tomorrow with simultaneous Press Conferences across all states, including the National Headquarters.”

The communique also extended the 7-day ultimatum by an additional 7 days, expiring on March 13, 2024, within which the government is expected to implement previous agreements and address other demands presented during the protests.

Should the government fail to comply within the specified timeframe, further courses of action will be decided upon by the NEC.

Once again, the NLC reaffirmed its commitment to defending and promoting the interests of Nigerian workers and the marginalized masses.

Despite concerns of potential crackdowns by authorities, workers gathered at the Labour House in Abuja to protest against the prevailing hunger and food crisis.

Thousands of workers assembled as early as 7 a.m., chanting solidarity songs and displaying placards urging the government to address the rising cost of living, inflation, and insecurity.

The placards bore messages such as “Tax the rich, subsidize the poor,” “Revive our refineries before removing subsidies,” “Alleviate the suffering,” and “Enforce our 35k wage award,” among others.

The labor movement is enforcing its 14-day ultimatum issued to compel the government to address the food crisis and hunger, attributed to the abrupt removal of fuel subsidies by the Federal government.

On February 16, following its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the NLC declared a two-day nationwide protest from February 27 to 28, to highlight the worsening economic hardship and insecurity in the country.

In response, the Department of State Services (DSS) cautioned the NLC against proceeding with the planned protests, citing concerns of potential exploitation by nefarious elements.

However, NLC President Joe Ajaero, addressing journalists before the rally, reiterated the workers’ determination to protest against growing hardship and the government’s inadequate response to their plight.

Regarding the outcome of recent meetings with the federal government, Ajaero clarified that the government’s primary agenda was to dissuade the NLC from protesting.

“Despite peaceful negotiations and threats from the government, we are resolute in our stance. We urge the federal government to urgently address hunger and economic hardship in the country,” he emphasized.

In summary, the NLC’s decision to suspend further protests underscores their commitment to dialogue while maintaining pressure on the government to address the pressing issues affecting Nigerian workers and the populace at large.

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