No going back on nationwide protest, NLC replies DSS

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The leadership of Organised Labour has responded to the Department of State Services (DSS) over its warning that the union should shelve its proposed protest billed to hold February 27 and 28.

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DSS had admonished the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its counterpart from the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to rescind their decision, saying the plea was in the interest of peace across the country.

But reacting to the DSS’ warning, the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, said the DSS should not blackmail the Organised Labour and arrest those who want to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and, by extension, widespread violence, as claimed.

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The labour leader described the forthcoming action as a “peaceful protest against the unpardonable cost of living,” adding that the Congress would not fold its arm while Nigerians continue to live in penury.

He said: “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 in spite of the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty, and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.

“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 spokesman of the government.

“According to the Service, “It is common knowledge that all levels of Government are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such, should be given a benefit of the doubt, So far, appropriate authorities are working assiduously with a spectrum of stakeholders to fashion out modalities to address the current difficulties.”.

“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,” it has 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 would 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. We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive.”

 

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