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Why NLC suspends nationwide protests for 2 weeks –Ajaero

Mr. Joe Ajaero, President of NLC, Leading a Protest

*The Nigeria Labour Congress calls off its two-day national demonstrations over the current economic hardship confronting millions of Nigerians, stating it will decide on further lines of action upon the expiration of the next 14 days, if the Federal Government refuses to comply with all of the workers’ demands

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called off its two-day national demonstrations over the current economic hardship confronting millions of Nigerian consumers.

The Labour, in a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting night Tuesday, February 27, 2024, suspended the protests, and said the objectives of the protests were achieved on the first day of the demonstration.

The NLC stated: “Consequently, NEC-in-session resolved as follows: to suspend street action for the second day of the protests, having achieved overwhelming success thus attained the key objectives of the 2-day protest on the first day.”

ConsumerConnect reports the West African country lately, has been contending with rising inflation, food inflation, forex crisis, economic hardship, and high cost of living, resulting from the removal of petrol subsidy and unification of the Foreign Exchange (Forex) rates in the economy.

However, in its communique Tuesday, the NLC stated that it suspended “street action for the second day of the Protest having achieved overwhelming success thus attained the key objectives of the 2-day protest on the first day.”

The communique also said: “However, nationwide action continues tomorrow with simultaneous press conferences across all the states of the Federation by the State Councils of the Congress including the National Headquarters.

The Labour union further noted: “To reaffirm and extend the 7-day ultimatum by another 7 days, which now expires on the 13th day of March, 2024 within which the Government is expected to implement all the earlier agreement of the 2nd day of October, 2023, and other demands presented in our letter during today’s nationwide protest.

“To meet and decide on further lines of action if on the expiration of the 14 days Government refuses to comply with the demands as contained in the ultimatum.”

Government attains 90 percent of Labour demands: Minister Onyejeocha

In a related development, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, Honourable Minister for Labour, has said the Federal Government achieved about 90 percent of the agreement it had with the Organised Labour October 2023.

The Minister, who disclosed this while featuring on a Channels TV programme Tuesday,

“We’ve done virtually everything in agreement. 90 percent of everything.”

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (TUC), Joe Ajaero, told government representatives at a meeting Sunday, February 25, that the protests were not about the government’s commitment to the October agreement but food inflation, she said.

Onyejeocha also noted that food security and economic prosperity were part of the priorities of the President Bola Tinubu administration.

She appealed to Nigerian consumers for patience with the new government as the administration is in its planting season with harvest on the horizon.

The Minister confirmed that the Federal Government had ticked about 90% of the 15-point Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) it signed with the Organised Labour  October 2, 2023.

Some of the agreement include granting wage award of N35,000 to workers, inauguration of minimum wage committee, and suspension of the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Diesel for six.

Earlier, the Nigerian Presidency had intensified efforts at engaging the Labour leaders night Monday, February 26, but the meeting ended in a stalemate as the NLC insisted that the protests would hold across the country.

The NLC later activated the planned protests Tuesday, thereby grounding economic activities across Nigeria.

Mr. Joe Ajaero, while commenting on the protests Tuesday, had stated that the demonstrations were about hunger, and not just a clamour for a review of the National Minimum Wage.

He said: “You have to understand it. This protest is about hunger. What of those who are not working? The minimum wage, when will it be completed? When will it be implemented? What will be the minimum wage that will remove hunger?”

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