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NLC to proceed with economic hardship protest despite DSS advice



he Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday vowed to go ahead with the planned nationwide protest on the current economic hardship in the country.

This followed the Department of State Service (DSS) warning on the protest slated for the end of this month.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, had during a press briefing at the end of the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting last Friday in Abuja, said the union would call out Nigerians for a two-day protest over the current hardship and insecurity in the country.

He said the protest would begin a week after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government on the current crises in the country.

But in a statement issued on Wednesday, the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, urged the NLC to shelve the plan in the interest of the country.

Ajaero, who reacted to the DSS advice in a statement he signed on Wednesday evening, insisted that the protest would go ahead as planned.

He also challenged the DSS to arrest those planning to disrupt the protest.

The statement read: “We are concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living despite the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.

READ ALSO: Economic hardship: Nigeria to restart direct cash transfer to 12 million homes

“According to the Service, the planned protest should be shelved ‘in the interest of peace and public order’, pre-supposing that the action is intended to be violent and disruptive even when we have a history of peaceful protests’.

“More worrying is the new role the Service has assigned to itself, the chief spokesperson of the government.

“We are equally worried that although the Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence and yet have not executed the arrest of these elements.

“We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the Service, their philosophy of ‘peace’ and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compromise its sovereignty or security.

“Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the Service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims.”

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