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Economic Hardship: NLC raises alarm over FG’s alleged plan to attack members during protest



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has alleged that the government has perfected plans to launch attacks against the two-day nationwide peaceful rallies it scheduled for 27 and 28 February.

NLC President Joe Ajaero made the allegation in a statement he signed and made available to journalists on Sunday in Abuja.

In a swift response, however, the federal government has denied the allegation describing it as “speculative.”

The Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said by raising the allegation, “NLC is feeling guilty in hatching its hidden agenda influenced by partisan considerations.”

Mr Onanuga who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the alleged attack, said the planned protest is illegal as it is against a subsisting order of court.

He said the NLC had a hidden agenda because most of the issues raised by labour for embarking on the protest had been addressed by the government.

Mr Ajaero in his statement titled, “As the State Prepares to Unleash Violence on us” alleged that one of the groups being primed to attack the 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.

“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,” he said.

Mr Ajaero insisted that the NLC and its civil society allies were moving ahead with the 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,” he said.

Mr Onanuga, however, insisted that the issues raised by the labour union had been addressed by the government, including the payment of a wage award of N35,000 monthly for six months.

He said the money had been paid to civil servants up till January 2024 and only that of February is outstanding.

The president’s aide said the federal government had inaugurated a 37-member Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage to review and come up with an acceptable and sustainable Minimum Wage for Nigerian Workers.

He said the government had made substantial financial commitments on the provision of CNG Buses and Conversion Kits.

According to Mr Onanuga, the buses will be rolled out very soon to alleviate the transportation challenges being faced by Nigerians.

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