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NLC to go ahead with planned protest over ‘mounting hunger and insecurity” in Nigeria

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has reiterated its intention to proceed with its planned protests against what it describes as “mounting hunger and insecurity” in the country, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

NLC President, Joe Ajaero, affirmed this stance in a statement issued on Sunday, February 25, 2024, accusing the Federal Government of attempting to use an unidentified group, the Nigeria Civil Society Forum (NCSF), to disrupt its action. NLC to go ahead with planned protest over “mounting hunger and insecurity” in Nigeria during the demonstrations.

Ajaero emphasized that if any of its members were attacked during the protests, there would be a complete shutdown of the country through the withdrawal of services by workers.

Meanwhile, the Department of State Services has issued a warning that the protest might be infiltrated by “certain elements.” Additionally, the Federal Government, through the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has cautioned the Labour Congress that proceeding with the rallies would amount to contempt of court.

Despite these warnings, Ajaero called on international human rights organizations and the governments of the African Union and the United Nations to take note of the threat posed to the people’s right to peaceful protest by the Nigerian State.

The statement further reads: “We would like to inform Nigerians that the government has made arrangements to disrupt our peaceful rallies nationwide. One of the groups poised to disrupt our peaceful rallies is an organization called the Nigeria Civil Society Forum (NCSF), which has been hastily formed, funded, promoted, and controlled by the government to incite violence against our members for choosing to peacefully protest against hunger in the country.”

“In light of this, we, at the Nigeria Labour Congress and our civil society partners, are proceeding with our protest rallies against economic hardship and insecurity, in line with the decision of the National Executive Council. As citizens, we have the fundamental right to peaceful protest, and history shows that our protests are always peaceful except in cases of state-sponsored violence.

“In light of this, we urge the government to seek solutions to the suffering it continues to inflict on the people instead of further degrading them. However, if it insists on resorting to violence against us and other peace-loving Nigerians, it will be making a grave mistake because if we are attacked, there will be a complete shutdown through the withdrawal of services by workers. Let no one be misled; we and other deprived Nigerians cannot be easily intimidated.

“We are reminding those in power that this is not just about the NLC but about Nigerians who are saying ‘enough is enough,’ about a people who have decided not to be further pushed into misery and hopelessness while a few live in opulent luxury at the expense of all. We are alerting the international human rights organizations and the governments of the African Union and the United Nations that the people’s right to peaceful protest and demand freedom from economic oppression and hardship is under threat by the Nigerian State.”

“We, however, remain steadfast, determined, and ready to express our grievances and sorrow peacefully as Nigerians on the 27th and 28th of February 2024.”

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