Hunger Action: Police Steals Shine, Provides Protesters Biscuits, Water In Lagos

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*Kano protesters make strong demands, Katsîna decry suffering

*Security threats, frustration, truncate Borno NLC protest, same recorded in Enugu

*Protest Rocks Ebonyi Amidst Tight Security

*Gov Makinde says hardship, poverty at alarming levels, promises to deliver unions demands to Tinubu

*Akwa Ibom workers blame economic hardship on unfavourable policies

*Delta workers demands FG palliatives

By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos, JABIRU A. HASSAN, Kano, SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri, MKPUMA ENYINNA, Abakaliki, BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan,. KELVIN OKPARA, Enugu, By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo, UTEBOR PETER, Asaba, and SULAIMAN AHMED MISAU, Katsina

Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other protesters participating in the nationwide protest organised by the congress in Lagos were offered biscuits and water by the police in order to renew their strength.

The protesters, who trekked from the NLC secretariat in Yaba through the Ikorodu road were accompanied by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police Fayoade Adegoke, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Fatai Tajudeen and other policemen to protect the protesters and prevent the rally from being hijacked by hoodlums.

Speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the protest, Fayoade explained the reason for the gesture by the police, saying it was meant to strengthen the participants for a successful journey.

According to him, “The journey was a long distance for protesters trekking, coupled with the hot weather, hence the need for at least water and biscuits, to give the participants strength for a successful protest.

“I provided water and biscuits because I don’t want anyone to collapse on the way. We have to use water to strengthen everybody. That is the least we could do,” he said.

Many protesters were rushing for the refreshments being distributed from patrol vehicles by police personnel on the way.

Fayoade, who described the protest as peaceful, said no one was arrested for any violations during the protest.

“The protest went on as agreed with the NLC leadership. We promised them protection and we provided such from the beginning to the end.

“The same protection will be provided on Wednesday and I will be part of the operation,” the CP said.

The police boss said that the command remained committed to the security of lives and properties in Lagos State.

He urged the residents to support the police and other security agencies by providing timely information on crimes.

NLC had slated the protest for yesterday and today across the country, over the high cost of living.

*Katsîna workers decry suffering

Katsina State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has joined its counterparts in the country to conduct a peaceful protests against economic hardship as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

Started from the headquarters of the NLC Secretariat Complex along Liyafa Roundabout on Kano Road,the peaceful protest
terminated at Barhim Roundabout on Mani Road in Katsina Metropolis at about 10:05 am under a heavy tight Security.

The State Chairman of the NLC Comrade Hussaini Hamisu Yanduna who led all the affiliates in the protest said the decision followed the conclusion of a 14-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government to implement measures against the widespread hardship in the country.

Comrade Hamisu Yanduna narrated on how people are suffering on daily basis because of high coast of commodities and living wage.assuring that, the labour union would embark on strike on March 2nd 2024, if the government remains adamant and not ready to address the challenges.

Prior to the protest, Katsina State
Commissioner of Police, CP Aliyu Abubakar Musa has held a meeting with the Representatives of the National Labour Congress (NLC) Katsina State Chapter towards ensuring a peaceful protest.

The discussions centred on strategies and measures to guarantee a safe and orderly protest while upholding the rights of all individuals involved.

Both parties, according to the Police Spokesman, ASP Abubakar Sadiq Aliyu emphasised the importance of conducting the protest in a peaceful and law-abiding manner to convey their messages effectively while respecting human rights.

The Police Commissioner in the meeting reemphasized the citizens’ right to protest and stated that the command remains poised to protect that right.

Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Musa reassured the NLC representative of the command’s commitment to ensuring a conducive environment for peaceful demonstrations, reiterating the significance of open communication and adherence to agreed-upon guidelines.

As they reviewed plans and protocols for the for protest, the NLC Representative expressed their appreciation to the CP for his continuous support and dedication to fostering a climate of understanding and collaboration for the betterment of all stakeholders involved.

The meeting underscores the shared goal of promoting a peaceful and productive protest environment while prioritising the safety and security of all individuals within Katsina State.

*Kano protesters make strong demands, warn against uprising

From Kano State, our correspondent JABIRU HASSAN reports that the peaceful protest was planned to channel the people’s grievances about the present situation especially the food item price hike which is increasing everyday.

Most of those who had chats with New Nigerian, stated that the federal government should do something very urgent in order to ease the hardships, especially at this moment when the food items always go higher than expectations while the economy is not stable.

Ibrahim Basiru from Kabo Local Government Area said that, “our leaders should do something to douse tension and avoid serious uprising in Nigeria, because everybody is now ready to actualize revolution since leaders failed to control the hardships and inflations”.

In her remarks, Amina Garba from Sumaila Local Government Area called on President Tinubu to return the fuel subsidy immediately otherwise the removal may result in the general protest that can lead to the overthrow of his government because majority of Nigerians resolved for military intervention, if the present situation persists.

*Security threats, frustrations, truncate Borno NLC protest

Borno State NLC protest was truncated with security threats and frustrations from uniformed policemen who stationed themselves within the vicinity of the labour office as early as 6.03am and blocked all major roads linking the NLC State Secretariat around 9am and finally denied the leadership and members of the union to carry out any demonstration or protest.

The State NLC Chairman, Comrade Yusuf Inuwa while addressing members of the labour union and affiliate members as well as the media at the premises of the labour office yesterday, few minutes after an emergency SEC meeting of the labour union, said, “we are constrained and denied to join the nationwide protest. The police commissioner has refused us to carry out any protest.

“The CP warned us not to even address the media or members of the union in form of rally or demonstrate. We even suggested we should go to NUJ Press Center to organize a press briefing on the protest. The CP still denied us and said that we should give them time to comb the NUJ.Center of any explosives or tendency of Improvised Electronic Devices (IEDs) first before he may allow us to hold the press briefing at NUJ Press Center.

“Even the AIG Zone 15, AIG Abdu Umar called me about the NLC protest and insisted we should step.away from the protest whether in solidarity or not on the basis that Borno is a peculiar state with security issues and still battling with it. As the law enforcement agents will not allow a situation where the jobless youth or miscreants would take advantage of the protest at the slightest opportunity to cause havoc,” Yusuf said.

He argued that it was quite unfortunate that an organized people and union were denied access and privilege to organize rally or protest, pointing out that, as law abiding citizens and obedient Nigerians they however, continue to express their bitterness and anger with the manner government has been handling and managing the nation’s resources at the expense of the poor masses of this country.

Comrade Yusuf however, appealed to members and affiliates to exercise restraint and go back today (Wednesday) for the second day protest, while appreciating them for their turn out and solidarity in support of the national secretariat and urged the media for objective coverage of the labour union activity on the protest by carrying their messages across

It would recalled that uniformed men from Borno State Police Command were seen drafted to the venue and all streets linking the NLC office as Borno CP, Mohammed Lawan led the team of security men deployed to the NLC office and coordinated instinctively that no any of the union be allowed to carry out any rally or demonstration outside the labour office premises and beyond to the Lagos Street Highway.

According to the NLC Chairman after their State Executive Council meeting on Monday in the nationwide protest and directives from the NLC national secretariat for all state branches were expected to join the protest, for two days, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Comrade Yusuf said he was contacted by top security heads and some highly placed citizens of the state and urged to stay away from the protest or not to carry or allow his members to join the protest.

He said they attributed their appeal to intelligent reports at the disposal of the security agents from Boko Haram insurgency and recent threats by IDPs to return to the bush as a result of the economic hardships and sufferings at their camps as well as the hoodlums who are set to join any protest to loot and destroy property.

Some were stationed at the gate and adjoining streets to stop the protesters, while police vehicles were alo positioned at strategic points, while some blocked all the major roads to and from the NLC office

The NLC State Chairman noted that all persuasions to allow the labour union to hold its really within the premises of the labour union where the Borno CP truncated all suggestions and appeal for them to hold their rally within the secretariat and demonstrate outside the office and work out for few kilometers along the major road to a short distance.

He however, called on the media to bear witness to all the threats, frustration and denial from security agents for the labour union not to hold its protest yesterday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital despite the show of solidarity and support from members and affiliates.

*Protest Rocks Ebonyi Amidst Tight Security

*Says Nigerians are wallowing in poverty, dying of hunger

The Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and other trade union leaders as well as workers, yesterday morning, embarked on peaceful protest to drive home their demands, stating that Nigerians are wallowing in poverty and hunger as a result of the inability of Federal Government of Nigeria to respond to their demands.

The protest which started at Pa-Ngele Oruta Township Stadium to other parts of Abakaliki witnessed large turnout of workers and other trade unions members who came out in enmass to drive home their demand.

According to the state chairman of NLC, Prof Ogugua Egwu, the removal of oil subsidy has done worst than good as people are dying of hunger and starvation.

He lamented that the sudden increase in the price of goods and services have made life very difficult for an average Nigerian.
Prof. Ogugua further noted the level of insecurity and hunger in the land is alarming, calling on Federal Government of Nigeria to take urgent steps to address this problem before it gets out of control.

The protesters were seen marching from Pa- Ngele Oruta Township stadium to various locations of Abakaliki,the Ebonyi State capital to express their grievances and press home their demands.

*Gov Makinde says hardships, poverty now at alarming levels, promises to deliver unions demands to Tinubu

Labour leaders in Oyo State under the auspices of Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) embarked on a two-day protest over the present economic hardships and insecurity in Nigeria.

The labour leaders in their hundreds, stormed the Oyo State NLC secretariat at Agbodi in Ibadan to mobilize for the commencement of the peaceful protest across strategics areas of the town.

During the peaceful protest which started at about 8.37am from the NLC state secretariat, the labour leaders and their members were chanting songs condemning the economic hardship in the country.

The protesters were tasking President Bola Tinubu to look into and find a lasting solution to the persistent problem of hunger in the country.

At the Total Garden area of Ibadan, the labour leaders waited for some time to address residents in the area of the need for the protest urging them to join the protest to salvage the country.

It was at this juncture, that Gov Seyi Makinde arrived the venue to address the protesting labour leaders on the need not to allow hoodlums hijack the peaceful protest from them.

The governor while addressing the protesters, said hardship and poverty have reached alarming levels, with many unable to feed themselves or find work.

According to him, with the situation on ground, the time has come for all the stakeholders in the country to work together to find solutions to the hardship occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal and the high rate of exchange, expressing hope that the situation can be turned around.

Governor Makinde emphasized that Nigeria as a country is in a trying period hence the need for all to join hands and find lasting solution to ” hunger and hardship in the land, saying, “We must do something about it.”

Stressing that the worsening economic situation is not unique to Oyo State, but rather a nationwide issue, he said contrary to the claim by the NLC National President that state government are not paying their workers, Oyo state is not owing its workers.

Gov Makinde while calling on the federal government to take action to alleviate the suffering of the people, emphasizing the need for policies that promote growth and job creation.

He then promised to deliver the protesters letter handed over to him to President Bola Tinubu on behalf of the labour unions.
As at the time of sending this report, the protest remains peaceful with security operatives in major and strategic areas of Ibadan

*Protest suffers setback in Enugu, As Police restrict members to only congress secretariat

The Enugu State Police Command yesterday, disallowed members of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) in the state to participate actively in the nationwide protest called by the national leadership of the organized labour unions, as they were restricted by armed personnel to protest only within the state NLC Secretariat.

The protest, was called by the labour unions as a way of expressing the pains and agony Nigerians, including workers are undergoing in the present economic hardship facing the people.

But unlike elsewhere in the country, policemen, did not allow members of the NLC to exercise their fundamental rights in Enugu, as they insisted that the protesters cannot go beyond the state Secretariat of the union.

Addressing members who converged on the NLC Secretariat for the take off to the streets of Enugu, NLC State Chairman, Comrade Fabian Nwigbo regretted that there was so much hunger in the land which promoted the action.

Comrade Nwigbo emphasized that a lot of Nigerians were dying because they could not have access to basic medication or three square meals per day.

He said that members came out in their numbers to show the world that they joined members on the national protest against hunger in the land “but the police in Enugu said it could not afford to secure Labour movement beyond NLC Secretariat”

On his part, the state Secretary of NLC Comrade Kelechi Anyalebechi states that the protest continues tomorrow as NLC Enugu will do what other states in the federation are doing, calling for an end to poverty and economic challenge in the country.

Our correspondent reports that the state police. command had on Monday, issued a statement tagged: ‘NLC Nationwide Protests: Enugu CP Orders Sufficient Security Deployment, Cautions Organizers Against Inimical Conduct.

“Consequent upon the proposed two days nationwide protests by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and its affiliate organizations, slated for Tuesday the 27th and Wednesday the 28th of February 2024, the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, has ordered the adequate deployment of Police operational and intelligence resources to ensure the security and peaceful conduct of the protests.

The statement issued by the Command’s Spokesman, DSP Daniel Ndukwe read further: “The Commissioner, however, cautions the leadership of the NLC in the State against conducting the exercise in ways capable of breaching public peace.

“He notes that, while it is within the organizer’s statutory rights to express their grievances through protests, they must also ensure that person(s) within or without their ranks do not disrupt the exercise or cause havoc.

“Furthermore, the CP has warned miscreants to steer clear of the protests, stressing that the Police would not hesitate to deal decisively with individuals found acting contrarily.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner has enjoined residents of Enugu State to remain law-abiding, vigilant, and report to the nearest Police Station, suspected criminals or anyone found acting in ways contrary to the peaceful conduct of the protests. Such reports could be rendered through

Meanwhile, despite the police action, the state NLC, said it will still participate in Wednesday exercise.

*Akwa Ibom Workers Blame Economic Hardship On Unfavorable Policies

*Police Deploys 3,200 Personnel

The NLC, as well as workers in Akwa Ibom State joined thier counterparts in other states of the federation to protest against the economic hardship in the country, blaming the tide on unfavorable policies of the government.

Chairperson of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state, Comrade Sunny James who led the protest yesterday, from Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo, to the State House of Assembly and later to Government House lamented that excessive hunger and hardship have weighed the people down to its limit.

Addressing the Speaker of the House, Mr Udeme Otong, the NLC chairperson urged him to encourage the lawmakers to make laws that would address the problems of the people and and stem hunger currently holding sway on their wellbeing.

He added that the situation of the country does not need laws that do not have meaning and positive impact noting that Nigerians are suffering due to unfavorable policies of the present Federal Government.

James also noted that the nationwide protest would be domesticated in Akwa Ibom State such that the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno should ensure that workers’ peculiar demands are addressed.

According to him, “We are here to present our position to members of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly that they need to make laws in the direction of our problem, laws that will be beneficial to us. We don’t need laws that don’t make meaning to us.

“If the leaders are not willing to change the situation, we will force them to change the situation, how can we be buying a bag of rice at N95,000 and a cup of garri N200?

“In Akwa Ibom State, this protest has to be domesticated, we need our gratuity, we need our promotion arrears, we need our 2023 promotion to be released immediately, we need the CNG busses to work, we need our refineries to work, we need increase in our wages, we need the prices of our staple food to come down, we need to see rice from Ini, we need to see garri and tomatoes been sold at our secretariat here.

“We are presenting these proposals to the Governor and we give him a timeline, if he does not listen to us, we shall gather again for a protest.”

Comrade James, however, commended the Commissioner of Police and the leader of DSS in the State for their solidarity and support especially for giving the protesters premium security and ensuring that everything went successfully.

Responding, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Udeme Otong described the protest as orderly and peaceful, and promised to look into the prayers of the NLC as contained in their letter.

The Speaker assured the protesters of the Governor’s readiness to put up all measures to assuage their suffering noting that the three laws that would be passed today (Tuesday) are geared towards bringing down the cost of living vis a vis the prices of commodities.

“Be assured that no matter what happens you have somebody like me who is once a Comrade you can rely on. I’ll ensure that all your demands as contained in this letter receive legislative action.

“Thank God we have a proactive governor who is on top of the situation. The three laws we are going to pass today will bring down the cost of living. The governor has assured me that he will meet with the leadership of NLC and TUC to address some of these issues.”

Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in the State, CP Waheed Ayilara said the command has deployed three thousand, two hundred, (3,200) police personnel across the state to prevent any breakdown of law and order.

CP Ayilara, who noted that the freedom of expression and association are enshrined constitutional rights, however said that in exploring such rights, especially that of protest, it must be peaceful and in accordance with extant laws of the land.

The CP, who called on Labour Union and residents of the state to consider the peace of the state as sacrosanct, warned criminal elements who may want to take advantage of any form of protest within the state to perpetrate evil, to have a rethink as the Command will identify and deal decisively with anyone found causing trouble.

The Police Commissioner also called on the waring groups in Eket, Esit Eket and Ibeno local government areas of the state over boundary to give peace a chance in the lingering boundary as no meaningful development can be achieved during crises.

He called on the government, the traditional class, the youths and other critical stakeholders to intervene and work harmoniously towards a peaceful resolution of the impasse to prevent a further breakdown of law and order in the affected areas.

The Police Boss warned those barricading the highway and preventing the free movement of people and vehicles to desist forthwith as such acts will not be tolerated under his watch.

*Delta workers demands FG palliatives

The Organized labour in Delta State yesterday, protested against the untold hardship facing Nigerians especially Deltans, calling for the Delta State Government to provide palliatives given to them by the Federal Government as part of efforts to ease the hardship.

The protesters marched through the Labour House, Okpanam Road, to Government House pressing for their demands From the federal government.

Though the protest was peaceful as heavy security were seen around the state capital, monitoring the protest including military personnel.

The protest started from Labour House around 9am and terminated with the government amidst tight security including the military personnel.

During the protest in Asaba, bankers, businessman and other business activities in the state capital were not affected as bankers were seen in full operations without disturbance.

NLC during the protest, demanded that Governor Oborevweri should produce their palliatives that came from the federal government.

While addressing newsmen during the protest, the NLC Deputy Chairman, Comrade Zicko Okwudi who led the protest said, “the protest was to seek their demand following the hardship facing Deltans.

According to him, “We are here to establish our demand and to inform you that the situation in Nigeria. I’d hard on us.

“When you go to market you will see that the 30,000 minimum wage earlier approved does not take us home.

“We have cone here today to bring our protest because a hungry man is an angry man”

In reaction while addressing the protesters, the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Dr. Kingsley Emu assured the labour that their message would be convey to governor Oborewhori

The state secretary commended the peaceful protest of NLC in the state, as he appealed that they should not allowed their anger to destroy them.

According to Emu, “Please be calm, I know we are angry but do not allow your anger to consume you. Let us not get angry and destroy things because to rebuild is a problem”

*We share in your plight – Delta Govt

Meanwhile, the Delta State Government, assured protesting members of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state that it will look at the challenges confronting them with a view to communicating same to the Federal Government.

The Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Kingsley Emu gave the assurance while addressing the protesters who were at the entrance of Government House, Asaba, for a peaceful protest against hardship in the country.

Dr. Emu who applauded the workers for the peaceful protest, implored them not to allow hoodlums to hijack it, adding that their request would be presented to the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori for onward presentation to the Federal Government.

He said: “I want to thank the Nigerian workers for your considerations and kind talks today. Your Governor sends his greetings.

“Your leadership has made a good case for you. The issue is not just affecting you but also our brothers and sisters. So, we are concerned Nigerians; whether you are working or not.

“Governor Oborevwori is a caring governor and we shall take all of these you have said to him. Before he ascended power, he told you he was going to take care of a lot of bills.

“First, is the pension and I am sure you know that that pension has been aggressively addressed. The second is the issue of your promotion arrears; you also know that it has been taken care of.

“He rescheduled your work days to suit your wallets and we consistently kept to that. He said he was going to give out some stipends for some months and he has done that. He is somebody who cares for you and I am sure you appreciate him.

“When he made those commitments, Nigeria has not gotten to a cross road, we didn’t have this kind of economic hardship. He feels your pains because he is in tune with the streets and understands the market and he is connected to his people”.

He disclosed that Labour case vis-a-vis the hardship in the country, was a pandemic, adding that everybody feels that pain, saying “no matter how the organs of the federal government tries to disguise the matter.”

“Your plights, worries and conditions will be taken back to the governor. We are all angry. You are not the only one angry. As citizens of Delta State, we are angry because while we protect our state, we are still vulnerable to external migration of people who don’t live in the state.”

He, therefore, called on the federal government to listen to the cry of labour, adding that there are too many cities where the Federal government should have sent out CNG buses; even as he noted that that was part of the promises made to the Nigerian workers by the federal government.

Earlier, the First Vice Chairman of Delta State Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ziko Okwudi said that they were in Government House to register their protest against the present economic hardship in the country.

Comrade Okwudi noted that the wage award promised workers by the federal government has not been honoured, stressing that despite all the agreements reached with federal government as it affects the interest and welfare of Nigerian workers, the federal government has been very inactive and insensitive to the plights of the Nigerian people.

“We have come today, because we know that by the grace of God, when this new Government came to power, over time, we have began to understand that the man at the helms of affairs in Delta State, ordinarily is not supposed to be a politician by his conduct and his attitude but destiny has given him the opportunity to lead Delta State.

“So, by so doing we have called him a politician and because he is a politician today, we know his disposition towards the plight of the people. He is a man that is very blunt when it comes to speaking the truth.

“All the federal government has promised the Nigerian workers, we are yet to see any that has materialised”, the NLC first Vice Chairman stated.

Nigerians, according to him, are being controlled by hunger, pointing out “when a man is hungry, he is angry and an angry man is insane and at that point of insanity, anything we do will be termed as hungry and we will not be held responsible”.

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