DSS urges organised labour to reconsider planned protests

The Department of State Services (DSS) has called on organised labour to reconsider its planned nationwide protests scheduled for February 27 and 28. 

The protests are in response to the current economic situation in the country, particularly the high cost of living.

The DSS has urged labour to shelve the protests, citing concerns over the potential for violence and disruption to public order.

The federal government has also failed to meet the demands of labour after a 14-day ultimatum, which has further fueled the planned protests.

Reacting to the planned protests in a statement on Wednesday, the DSS in a statement by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, urged the union to to shelve the plan in the interest of peace and public order.

The secret service urged the union to pursue dialogue and negotiation rather than engage in conduct that could heighten tensions.

“This is more so that the Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence. The development, without doubt, will worsen the socio-economic situation across the country,” the DSS claimed.

It added, “It is common knowledge that all levels of government are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such, should be given a benefit of the doubt. So far, appropriate authorities are working assiduously with a spectrum of stakeholders to fashion out modalities to address the current difficulties. They should, therefore, be given the chance to handle the challenges at hand.

“In this vein, citizens are encouraged to recognise that what remains unsolved in peacetime, would not be attained in war-time. The timeless piece of the esteemed Poet, JP Clark, ‘The Casualties’ is a resonating reminder to us of the possible dangers of escalated conflicts. In times of trouble, everyone will be a casualty.

“Also, ongoing wars in the global scene are a stark reminder of their catastrophic repercussions on the affected countries’ domestic environments thus, the critical need to protect and maintain our internal stability and unity. Those exploiting the fault lines in the country need to have a rethink as resorting to negativities will endanger our peaceful coexistence with dire consequences.”

The DSS also urged parents and guardians to exert authority in guiding their children and wards from inimical acts capable of jeopardising public safety and harmony.

“Additionally, all sectors, including political parties, opposition groups, religious and traditional institutions, civil society and non-governmental bodies are called upon to eschew violence; and demonstrate leadership and statesmanship in these challenging times.

“Making political capital out of the current situation or involving in divisive utterances at a time like this, will be of no benefit to any peace-loving Nigerian. Citizens are advised to be vigilant and not allow fifth columnists and hostile forces or agents to use them to destabilise the peace of the nation.

“The DSS stands opposed to violence as a means of settling our present-day challenges, be they economic, political or otherwise. Accordingly, the Service will work with sister security and law enforcement agencies to ensure that lasting peace is maintained in the country,” it added.

In light of the DSS's call for reconsideration, it remains to be seen whether organised labour will proceed with the planned protests or engage in further dialogue with the government.

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