Imo, Ebonyi, Abia workers protest as economist faults subsidy policy
As organised labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) embarked on a nationwide protest, yesterday, Imo State workers took to the streets in Owerri, the state capital, over what they called ‘anti-people policies’ of the Federal Government, calling for revival of the economy.
After the protest, they gathered in front of the Government House, Owerri, while the police and other security operatives gave them protection to ensure it was peaceful.
Also, among the protesters were Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the state.
They also carried placards with various inscriptions, such as “We Say No To Anti-Poor People Policies Of The Federal Government,” “Fix Our Refineries,” “Immediate Implementation Of Salary Award To Nigeria Workers,” “ Pay University Workers Eight Months Salary Arrears,” “Nigerians Are Suffocating,” “Tinubu, Let Nigerians Breathe.”
As at press time, no government official had addressed them. It was gathered that the governor, Hope Uzodimma, had travelled outside the state.
Similarly, the organised labour in Ebonyi State, yesterday, joined the protest against the subsidy removal policy, which has increased the cost of transportation and general standard of living in the country.
They converged on Abakaliki Township Stadium from where they commenced their march against the policy.
Security agencies were seen guarding the unions during the protest, perhaps against being hijacked by criminal elements.
The protest recorded low turnout as many workers were apprehensive over the two-week sit-at-home order by the Simon Ekpa faction of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Meanwhile, a political economist, Chukwueke Dike, has faulted President Bola Tinubu on fuel subsidy removal before articulating necessary palliatives the cushion the effect on the citizenry. Dike said this on heels of the peaceful protest in Abia State, yesterday, by the organised labour in the state.
Dike also pointed out that failure of the Federal Government to name and shame those who are allegedly corruptly enriching themselves from the subsidy regime at the detriment of the majority of Nigerians amounts to tacit support or promotion of impunity in the system.
The political economist, who spoke to The Guardian on the sideline of the protest in Umuahia, the state capital, said that President Tinubu would have not only named those few Nigerians, but taken steps to prosecute them according to the law.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) National President, Prof. Emmanuel Victor Osodeke, in his remarks, stated that not public officers pay for fuel, as they enjoy various reliefs. Lamenting that Nigeria gives various aids to many countries, its citizens are denied essential benefits, expressing worry that the successive administrations have failed to revamp the country’s moribund refineries.
ALSO, workers in Enugu State, yesterday, joined the nationwide protest, accusing Tinubu of ambushing Nigerians with the subsidy removal development.
The NLC members, associate unions and CSOs, who gathered at the New Market Office of the Enugu NLC where the protest began at 9:50 a.m., marched through the New Market Roundabout to the state Secretariat, through Okpara Avenue, New Haven, to the Government House.
Addressing the workers, the state NLC Chairman, Fabian Nwigbo, said that the Tinubu administration ambushed Nigerians on its first day in office with the removal of fuel subsidy, which has more than doubled the suffering of the people.
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