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Labour: Why we are embarking on nationwide protest in Nigeria



Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, versus President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has explained why it declared a two-day national protest beginning on 27th till 28th of February, 2024, saying it is respecting the hardship and insecurity bedeviling the country.

NLC made the clarification in a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.

The meeting was held on Friday, February 16, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory FCT).

The communique was signed by NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, and the Acting General Secretary, Comrade Ismail Bello.

According to the statement, the nationwide protest will commence at the expiration of the 14 days’ notice issued the federal government.

What went wrong?

The labour union had asked the government to implement the agreement reached on October 2, 2023.

It also asked the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government to address the mounting crisis of survival in Nigeria.

The notice expires on the Midnight of Thursday, February 22, 2024.

Labour warned that if, on other hand, the demands are not met after the nationwide protests, a seven-day notice that will expire on March 2 will ensue.

If the government remains adamant after the seven-day notice, then an indefinite nationwide strike will commence.

The union regretted that Nigerian workers and people are no longer interested in empty talk but action so.

It called on all its affiliates, state councils and civil society allies to start mobilizing across the nation for effective action as the deadline approaches.

What did Labour say?

The union recalled: “On Monday, the 29th day of May 2023, the President of the Federal Republic announced during his inaugural speech the withdrawal of Subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Nigeria.

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“Consequently, the price of the product, which is central to transportation and power in Nigeria, escalated across the nation, throwing the nation into turmoil and confusion as citizens were left stranded, thus increasing suffering, hardship and angst among the populace.

“Series of meetings were held with the federal government culminating in the signing of an Agreement which we now call the October 2 Agreement.

“This Agreement contained several safeguards which we had believed if implemented conscientiously would have gone a long way to ameliorate the suffering and hardship that the ill-conceived and ill-implemented policies of the government have foisted on the masses and workers.

“The NEC-in-session considered the unfortunate state of our nation; the huge suffering pervading the nation, the general crisis of living, the outrage expressed by the majority, and the increased attendant fears of the continued consequences of these policies and the persistent refusal of the Government to implement the tenets of the October Agreement.

“It also took notice of the decision of the National Administrative Council (NAC) of both congresses of the NLC and TUC to demand that the Agreement be implemented.

“To this end, NEC unanimously noted its deep disappointment and condemned the actions of the federal government in refusing to implement the agreements.”

What does Labour want?

In light of the continued suffering of the Nigerian people and Workers, Labour called for immediate action from the federal government.

It also demanded that these grievances be rectified and faith in the democratic process and social dialogue restored.

The Nigerian labour union is headed by Comrade Joe Ajaero.

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Who is Joe Ajaero?

Comrade Ajaero is a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants (FCIMC) and Member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Nigeria Industrial Relations Association (NIRA), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as well as an Associate Member of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

He obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1990.

He later obtained a post-graduate diploma in Journalism from Times Journalism Institute in 1994.

Ajaero also bagged a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Labour Relations from the University of Lagos in 1998.

He also owns a certificate in Advance Tariff Structuring and Subsidy Design Option from IP3, South Africa, in 2003.

He is a renowned Unionist and has held various positions including Secretary/Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Vanguard Chapter, Member Central Working Committee and National Executive Council of the NUJ (1997-1999) and National Ex-Officio (1997-1999).

Ajaero currently holds the positions of General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).

He is also a Member of the presidential committee on tariff adjustment and titular representing Africa in the Global Union Federation Public Service International.

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