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NLC Protest to go on Despite Tinubu’s Broadcast

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The Nigeria Labour Congress will go ahead with its nationwide protest planned for Wednesday, despite the federal government’s efforts to stop it.

The protest is to force the government to backtrack on recent pronouncements, including the removal of petrol subsidy, which the Congress has termed ‘anti-poor’.

President Bola Tinubu attempted to assuage the vexation of the NLC by addressing Nigerians in a televised broadcast on Monday evening.

He announced palliatives to cushion the sufferings of Nigerians triggered by the increase in petrol prices and the prices of other goods and services.

They include the acquisition of 3,000 CNG-fuelled buses to move Nigerians, and an increase in the national minimum wage.

The president also talked about investing hundreds of billions of naira in agriculture and private enterprises.

But the NLC released a statement afterward, saying the president’s broadcast appeared to be “out of touch with reality and anomalous with the hardship and suffering that most Nigerians are going through now.”

In the statement, the NLC president, Joe Ajaero, said President Tinubu failed to address organized labor’s demand for the revival of Nigeria’s public refineries.

Mr. Ajaero also wondered why the president admitted that a few corrupt persons formed a power bloc and enriched themselves through the fuel subsidy program but failed to disclose steps to punish them.

“Consistent with our perception of the misalignment of Mr. President’s promises and offerings to the reality faced by millions of workers and ordinary Nigerians was the failure of President Tinubu to unmask those behind the looting of Nigeria’s commonwealth under the guise of petrol subsidy,” the statement read.

“It is unacceptable for the president and Commander-in-Chief to lament like ordinary Nigerians about a group that Mr. President routinely referred to in his speech as the ‘elites of the elites’ who have stolen so much from Nigeria that they have become so powerful as to constitute a threat to democratic governance.

“What Nigerians expected from Mr. President is a firm commitment to bring these economic saboteurs to justice and recover what they have stolen.”

The NLC president also accused President Tinubu of insincerity in the review of the minimum wage.

“Mr. President’s statement on working with Organised Labour to review the national minimum wage is out of sync with what has played out since President Tinubu removed the so-called petrol subsidy,” he wrote in the statement.

Mr. Ajaero said the NLC had been “forced” to negotiate with “empty chairs” on the government’s side in all the meetings called by Aso Rock Villa.

He added that the sub-committee on wage award was yet to be inaugurated.

The NLC concluded by saying that the promises of palliatives announced by President Tinubu were the same “promises” Nigerians were used to.

The Congress is worried that they never produce “verifiable and meaningful changes in the lives of citizens.”


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