BENIN CITY, Nigeria – The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, in Edo State on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, intensified its protest against the Federal Government’s decision to remove fuel subsidies by blocking the entrance to the state high court.
The move has resulted in adjourning scheduled judgments by the election petitions tribunals for the National Assembly and state House of Assembly, previously slated for today.
The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, had previously sounded the alarm on the strike, criticizing the Federal Government’s inability to tackle the economic challenges stemming from the subsidy removal effectively.
In an unprecedented move, President Bola Tinubu had announced the termination of the fuel subsidy during his inaugural speech on May 29, a decision which has reverberated throughout Nigeria.
The aftermath witnessed an exponential surge in fuel prices, with costs in some areas tripling, leading to an associated increase in the cost of living.
The labour unions, including NLC, Trade Union Congress, TUC, and their affiliate unions, have publicly protested against what they term as “anti-people policies” of President Tinubu’s administration.
Their series of demonstrations have spanned multiple states, from Lagos to Ebonyi, echoing their grievances against the Federal Government’s policies.
Adding to the rising tension, the NLC’s ultimatum to the Federal Government sought the reversal of these policies and raised other issues, including the demand for a significant increase in the minimum wage.
They argue that the living standard of Nigerians has plummeted drastically since the President’s declaration on the subsidy.
Meetings between the Presidency and the unions to discuss potential relief measures for Nigerians grappling with the subsidy removal’s economic fallout have been unfruitful.
“The government’s unresponsiveness to our pleas and the sufferings of the people is alarming,” says Ajaero. “It’s more than just about the subsidy. It’s about the collective welfare of Nigerians.”
It remains to be seen how the government will address the unions’ demands and the broader economic concerns arising from the subsidy removal.
Nigerians nationwide watch with bated breath as the situation develops, hoping for a resolution.