Nigeria Labour Congress slams DSS appeal to cancel planned protest

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has criticized the Department of State Services (DSS) for appealing to the union to cancel a planned protest over the economic situation and cost of living crises. 

The NLC faulted the DSS's appeal, stating that it is the right of citizens to express their grievances through peaceful protests.

The NLC emphasized that the planned protest is a response to the worsening economic situation in the country, which has led to a rise in the cost of living. The union also noted that the government has failed to address the concerns of workers, including the implementation of a new minimum wage.

Last week, the NLC called on its members to prepare for a two-day nationwide industrial action after issuing a 14-day ultimatum to the federal government to implement the agreement and address the mounting crisis of survival in Nigeria.

The planned days for the protest are February 27 and 28.

Peter Afunanya, spokesperson for the DSS, urged parties to pursue dialogue and negotiation, instead of engaging in actions that could escalate tensions.

He stated that all levels of government are working to improve the current economic conditions and should be given the benefit of the doubt.

But the labour union in a reaction statement signed by its president, Joe Ajaero, on Wednesday evening February 21, 2024, has insisted that there is no going back on the planned industrial action

Ajaero said the union was ”concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living despite the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.”

The NLC president noted that ”the Service has assigned to itself, the new role of the chief spokesperson of the government,” which is deeply concerning.

He instead advised the DSS to focus their attention on the arrest of ”some elements planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence”

We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the service, their philosophy of “peace” and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compete with its sovereignty or security.”

Ajaero maintained that the union would not cower to the DSS’s attempts at blackmail but would lead a peaceful protest to end the suffering of the citizens of the nation.

”Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims.”

”We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive.”
~Channels tv
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