The National Labour Congress (NLC) has began a nationwide protest over the removal of fuel subsidies and the perceived lack of adequate palliative measures.
Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets in various cities across the country, demanding immediate government action to address these pressing concerns.
In the FCT, they have gained entrance in the National Assembly complex, after matching from the Unity Fountain, the meeting point of the protesters.
Protesters forced open the gate of the National Assembly Complex, FCT. Security agents are said to be keeping vigilance to avert breakdown of law and order.
Upon entering the premises, Ali Ndume, the Senate Chief Whip; Ireti Kingibe, the senator representing the FCT; and Tony Nwoye, who represents Anambra North, among others, positioned themselves on the railings of the complex to address the agitated crowd.
However, the protesters persistently clamoured for Adams Oshiomhole, a former labour leader and incumbent senator. Oshiomhole had served as the NLC president from 1999 to 2007
“Where is Oshiomhole?… Where is Oshiomhole?” echoed through the crowd as Ndume attempted to speak.
The demonstrations continued as the lawmakers screened some of the president’s ministerial nominees.
The removal of fuel subsidies sparked rising inflation rates, placed a heavy burden on the average citizen’s purchasing power.
The NLC and its supporters are voicing their discontent over the perceived insufficient efforts to provide palliatives to ease the economic strain caused by the removal of subsidies.
Many believe that the government has not done enough to mitigate the adverse effects on vulnerable and low-income populations.
Security agents are actively present to ensure the peaceful conduct of the protest.
At the Unity Fountain in Abuja, the designated gathering point for the protesters, police personnel were observed patrolling from the Federal Secretariat area all the way to the Fountain and its vicinity.
In Nyanya, located at the border between the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Nasarawa State, military personnel have erected roadblocks to conduct checks on individuals and vehicles.
The Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, issued a directive on Tuesday for a comprehensive security strategy to be implemented nationwide, in anticipation of the protest.
In Zamfara State, Security agents marched along side the protestors, to provide cover against any infraction. The State governor Dauda Lawal, did a stop over at the start of the demonstration and was seen ‘greeting’ them. The speaker of the state house of assembly has since addressed and prayed with the protesters.
In Nasarawa, protesters, came out in large numbers and marched through the main streets of Ilorin. They later delivered a letter expressing their grievances to the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kayode Àlabi.
In Kano, they also delivered a letter to the governor, Abba Kabiru Yusuf.
In Borno state, the ban on protest or any form of procession is still enforce due to insecurity that had bedevilled the state for fourteen years, but the NLC demonstrations still held, albeit peacefully.
In response to the widespread grievances President Bola Ahmed Tinubu addressed the nation in a broadcast on Monday to explain the rationale behind these policies and appealed for perseverance, emphasising their necessity.
The President said fuel subsidy had to be abolished as it had lost its beneficial impact and was costing the country trillions of Naira annually.
Redirecting the fund towards public transportation, healthcare, schools, housing, and national security would be more beneficial for the nation as a whole, he said.
But the NLC on its website said the “speech indeed appears to be out of touch with reality and anomalous with the hardship and suffering that most Nigerians are going through now.”
Compiled by Saadatu Albashir; With contributions from Seyi Ajibade, Daniel Adejo and Joseph Agi in Abuja, AbdulRazak Kaura in Zamfara; Ali Rabiu in Kwara; Abdullahi Jalaluddeen in Kano; Ismaila Adamu in Katsina; Chris Nyamtu in Nasarawa; Dauda Iliya in Maiduguri