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TENSION: NLC protest looms despite warnings, pullouts




The escalating cost of living in Nigeria has become a flashpoint, with the planned nationwide protest by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) facing contrasting messages from the government, police, and civil society groups.

Scheduled Protest:
The NLC plans to hold a two-day nationwide protest on Tuesday and Wednesday to express concerns about the rising cost of living.

Presidential Warning: The Presidency, through Special Adviser Bayo Onanuga, urged the NLC to reconsider the protest.

Onanuga said, “The attorney-general has written the NLC’s lawyer that the protest is illegal. So, they are breaching a court order if they want to go on with the protest.

“We are not aware of any plans to disrupt the protest, but what we can confirm is that they (NLC) are breaching an extant rule by a competent court that they should not go on protest. The protest itself is illegal. So, the NLC should bear that in mind.”

Police Warning: The police similarly warned against potential disruptions to commercial activities during the protest.

READ ALSO:NLC blames IMF, World Bank for Nigeria’s power sector crisis

Also warning the NLC on its course of action, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, said the command would not condone any form of violence during the planned protest.

“The command will live up to its mandate of ensuring that no person or group of persons is allowed to infringe on the fundamental human rights of others, especially the rights to freedom of movement and the right to dignity of human persons.

“CP Adegoke, therefore, warns all intending protesters that anyone found infringing on the rights of other Nigerians will be dealt with in accordance with the law.’’

Civil Society Pullout: 65 civil society groups withdrew their support for the protest, citing concerns about potential hijacking and further escalation of tensions.

NLC Defiant: NLC President Joe Ajaero reaffirmed the planned protest in a statement on Sunday.

Ajaero insisted that the protest would hold in line with the decision of the NLC national executive council, adding that “the pangs of hunger cannot be vowed by bullets or tear gas.”

He noted, “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.”

“However, if it is irrevocably set on the path of violence against us and other peace-loving Nigerians, it will be making a costly mistake because if we are attacked there will be a total shutdown via withdrawal of services by workers. Let no one be deceived, we and other deprived Nigerians cannot easily be intimidated.’’

The conflicting messages highlight the complex situation surrounding the planned protest. While the NLC seeks to voice frustrations about economic hardship, the government and some civil society groups express concerns about potential negative consequences of the demonstrations.

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