Labour protesters pull down National Assembly gate, as labour leaders meet Senate leadership

Angry protesters led by Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)  and Festus Osifo of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday stormed National Assembly and pulled down the gate of the complex in their attempt to meet with the National Assembly leadership in Abuja.

Organized labour is on a nationwide protest against the removal of petroleum subsidies and all “anti-poor” and “insensitive” policies of the government. This followed the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum given to the federal government to reverse the policies.

The protesters’ unruly action followed the refusal of the National Assembly security operatives to open the gate to allow the protesting workers to enter the complex. As the gates came down, the protesters rushed into the assembly complex shouting their protests.

Later on, the leadership of the Senate met and resolved to meet with the leadership of the labour unions to appeal to them to stop its nationwide protests.

Ali Ndume, the Chief Whip of the Senate, who met with the protesting workers asked them to give the Senate a chance to also be part of negotiations to resolve the crisis.

“The National Assembly, especially the Senate, we have been following keenly what is going on. When we realized that there is a breakdown in the discussion between the presidency and NLC, the day before yesterday, one of our colleagues brought a motion on this labour crisis that we are facing and the need for the senate to intervene.

“There is a motion that we passed on Monday when we sat before we started the ministerial screening.  We brought that motion and all the members of the senate were co-sponsors.

“I have said that the NLC should be negotiating with either the president or the vice-president and if because of their schedule, then an acceptable representation would continue the discussion. We stand with you on that.

“And as I said, please have confidence in the national assembly and give us a trial. Let the senate, the leadership be involved in the negotiation.

“Please, reconsider and give the senate the chance and then if we fail you, then of course, you can go back to your position. I beg you in the name of God.

“The Senate is going to be involved. Please, I am begging you to call off the strike and give us one week and we will report progress. And if you are not satisfied with the progress, then you can take any action,” Ndume said.


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