We were intimidated, threatened not to embark on protest – NLC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) says it was intimidated and threatened not to go ahead with its two-day nationwide protest.

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The NLC had declared a two-day nationwide mass protest for February 27 and 28, 2024, over the economic hardship being faced by Nigerians since the removal of subsidy on petrol in May 2023.

On Tuesday morning, the protesters began their marches from the Labour House in Abuja and the Ikeja under-bridge in Lagos, while chanting solidarity songs and slogans.

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Similar rallies were staged in state capitals across the country.

In a communique issued at the end of its national executive council (NEC) meeting on Tuesday, the NLC announced the suspension of the second day of the protest, adding that its objectives were achieved on the first day of the rallies.

Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, Joe Ajaero, NLC president, said following its announcement of the commencement of the protests, the congress was intimidated and harassed in a bid to prevent the street marches.

“We were threatened with all manners of consequences that would be meted on us if we went ahead,” he said.

“We were, however, not perturbed as lifting the heavy yoke of suffering upon Nigerian workers and masses left us with no option than to press on.”

The NLC president said the congress has evidence from Tuesday’s protest of the “importation of agents who were mobilised to the protest routes and grounds to cause violence against the peaceful protest”.

“God is, however, always a step ahead of the enemies of the workers and the Nigerian people. That was also one of the reasons we had to restructure on the second day of the nationwide protest,” he added.

“You may have noticed that almost all the routes to our office have been militarised this morning. It took a lot of time to access our office. These are not things you expect from a democratic society.

“We want to reiterate that if the government fails to comply within the specified time frame, the NEC will convene again to decide on the next line of action.

“The NLC remains steadfast in its commitment to defending and promoting the interests of Nigerian workers and the downtrodden masses, who will not succumb to intimidation.”

The NLC president said while the congress will continue to attend meetings with the federal government, it will no longer do so on the eve of any of its actions.

“Each time they invite us for a meeting, we will attend and listen to them. You are aware we held a meeting with the federal government on Sunday,” Ajaero said.

“But while that meeting was going on, they wrote a letter to all the unions to come and undermine us. There is nothing they have not done to subvert the NLC. But if we are invited for another meeting, we will still go and listen.

“However, henceforth, the NLC will no longer be comfortable attending meetings on the eve of any action. Nothing comes from such meetings than to delay us and démobilisé us so we don’t carry out our action.

“This is our new resolve. They cannot call us for a meeting when we have an action in two days and then keep us till late at night so we will not come out.”

 

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