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Abuja, Lagos to be grounded in follow-up protest on Thursday


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THE Nigerian Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by Nigerian Labour Congress will hit the streets of Abuja and Lagos on Thursday to protest the state of the nation as government policies fail thus inflicting harsh and intolerable hardship on Nigerians, The Tribune has reported.

The protest according to the Tribune is tagged National Day of Action against Corruption and for Good Governance.

According to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the labour body would mobilise hundreds of thousands of Nigerians on the street in Abuja and Lagos for the protest march.”

Speaking through its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said the planned action in Abuja would be marked with marches, rallies and submission of petition containing a list of demands to the government at the Presidency and the National Assembly.

Workers, he said, and other Nigerians will gather as early as 7am at the Unity Fountain , from where the protest will head to the Federal Secretariat, the National Assembly and to the Presidency.

“There is the need for a popular mass movement support for the government to call for good governance to overcome the resultant full fledge recession, and free for all multiple exchange rate regime, which has very negative effect on manufacturing and other sectors of the economy.” He said.

The NLC pointed out that other issues include the review of minimum wage and payment of salaries, adding that the organised labour would also take the protest to state level after that of the national level.

He pointed out that labour, as represented by the NLC and TUC must lead the process, adding however that every Nigerian has the right to protest without taking any permission from the police.

Wabba said: “We should be leading not people who don’t have address trying to lead us from behind. Our perspective is that we must be cleared on where we are going and what our demands are. Our demand is clearly that we must be able to have good governance in place across all our structure. Part of why we have not make sufficient progress and these challenges keep occurring is that there is lack of good governance

“A lot of resources that would have hitherto address some of these challenges have been taken out by few but instead of responding to those issues as Nigerians, most people tribalise the issues. As a mass organisation, we must be able to situate our argument and contestations within the demand of our members and also wishing the demand of larger public. We are not going to join our own with anybody; we have planned our activities with our civil society allies.

“I situate also the issue of high cost of goods and services . A lot of Nigerians had difficulty in having one meal per day talk less of somebody that is working but has not been paid for six months. In our contestations, we must be able to situate all of these within the context of lack of good governance and also that corruption is fighting back.”

“Basically, whether we like it or not, corruption will continue to fight back, except we the working class and others come together to defeat those forces, nobody will help us,” he added

Wabba said the review of national minimum wage is long overdue as today, the dollar is being exchange for almost N500 to a dollar, adding that all conditions precedence to the review show that the demand is legitimate.

On the state to visit for protest, he specifically mentioned Imo State where the state government owed 77 months liability in salaries and gratuity.

Wabba lamented the inability of most of the state governors to pay workers salaries, pension and gratuity; adding, “We thought that we must canvass for the issue of good governance and the fight against corruption as a lot of state government are not doing the needful as it concerns workers. In spite the Paris Club Refund to some of the states, some of the states are not making efforts to ensure that workers interest is given the priority it deserved.

“Gratuity in most of the states are also building up, we have liability of gratuity ranging between seven months and some 77 months. The worst-case scenario is Imo State, where we have liability of gratuity of 77 months and pensions.

Wabba said that the Imo State government had contemplated paying the pensioners 60 per cent of their 77 months’ pension arrears while the pensioners have rejected; adding that the Labour movement was proposing on how to move down to those states owing workers and pensioners to engage the governors.

He added: “This portrays a lot of danger and challenges basically because, in some of those states they do not look at the issue of workers’ salaries, among others as a priority. So, the whole essence of the rally for good governance is to see that our political elite get their priority right. It is in this context that the NLC and the TUC are going do a second round of campaign for good governance and fight against corruption because, we realised from the data’s we have it is not about how much those states earned, but it about how transparent the process is in those states.”

Wabba pointed out that some states received less, but yet do not have liability of salaries and pensions while some receive much but have accumulated liabilities.

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