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NLC protest action may bring anarchy– TUC



The Trade Union Congress has warned that the planned protest on February 27 and 28 being championed by the Nigeria Labour Congress may lead to anarchy.

This is as the union stated that the country was too volatile and tense because of the prevailing hunger in the land.

This warning was made by the Deputy President of the TUC, Dr Tommy Etim, in an interview with Punch.

The Organised Labour plans to embark on a two-day strike on Tuesday and Wednesday to protest the hardship currently being faced by Nigerians following the dramatic hike in the prices of goods and services due to the removal of fuel subsidy and the free fall of the naira, among others.

Pockets of protests had broken out in Kano, Niger, Oyo and Osun, among other states, with protesters urging the government to take decisive steps to bring the hardship to an end.

Nigeria’s annual inflation rate climbed to a near 28-year high of 29.9 per cent in January, up from 28.9 per cent in December and above market forecasts of 29.5 per cent.

Food prices are at an all-time high, with a bag of long-grain rice hitting N77,000.

Several videos online have shown netizens lamenting the increase in the prices of consumer goods like toothpaste, butter, and tin tomatoes, among others, and asking the President, Bola Tinubu to intervene.

Many have also expressed their willingness to join the NLC protest to press home their demands for a change in the economic trajectory of the country.

However, the TUC backed out, saying that it was not aware of the planned rally. This caused a crack in the wall of the Organised Labour.

Although the NLC has insisted that the two-day rally must be held, the TUC has stated that it will not be part of the demonstration.

Etim, while commenting on the planned rally, stated that it was ill-timed and urged the NLC not to plunge the country into anarchy.

Speaking on why the TUC backed out of the proposed protest, the labour leader accused the President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, of running a one-man show by failing to carry members of the TUC along in his decision to declare a two-day strike.

Etim said the NLC had slighted the TUC in making unilateral decisions four times, adding that it was now a deliberate act.

He said, “When one claims that a mistake is done and it is one that a mistake can be accepted as a mistake, but, when it is up to four times, it is now a deliberate action.

“The first thing is that when you issue an ultimatum to the government, the NEC is supposed to meet to review it. When they do, they will then make a decision.

“In this case, the ultimatum given to the Federal Government was still on and the NLC president decided to announce that they would be going on protest as though he had not been in industrial relations practice or law. It baffles us. We cannot take that.

“What is the essence of unionism if you don’t come together for a particular cause? So, adopting a situation where two centres have been on the ground and one feels it has superior knowledge is not a good one at all.

“I feel that he should be sensitive to know that the struggle is not a one-party affair and we must save the country. We have to be a united force. And we have also said that a people united cannot be defeated. The President must leave up to his responsibility.”

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