Nigeria fuel protests Day 4: Strike rages

*Labour vs FG – Who blinks first

John Abayomi

12 January 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – As Nigeria’s organised labour and government trade accusations over who is inflicting more pains on Nigerians over the removal of subsidy and the labour-declared strike, the nationwide action entered its 4th day, Thursday, as uncertainty pervades the air over when economic activities will return.

In Lagos, thousands have resumed at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, for the daily mix of speeches by labour officials and civil society activist with performances by musicians and comedians.

Demonstration is also reported to be in progress in Abuja, led by national officers of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Treade Union Congress (TUC).

Edo NLC/TUC to resume street protests if…..
BENIN – AS the nationwide strike organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) entered its fourth day, the NLC and civil society groups in Edo State yesterday in Benin said that they may resume street protest today (FRIDAY) if on-going negotiation over the fuel subsidy is not resolved .

The hint was dropped by former President of ASUU, Prof. Festus Iyayi while addressing a rally in Benin.

Iyayi who was flanked by the state chairman of the NLC, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun and leaders of other civil society groups, said the peoples’ protest over the fuel subsidy would continue until the federal government succumb to the wishes of Nigerians by reversing the pump price of petrol to N65 per litre.

While warning against violence in the planned street protest, he called on market women and bus drivers and all those who do not wish to be part of the protest to stay at home just as he insisted that the peoples’ protest had no ethnic and religious colouration but was purely a protest against increases in pump price.

Prof iyayi therefore warned hoodlums against hijacking the protest to terrorize innocent citizens in the state, saying that all Nigerians were affected by the fuel price increase and that the increase does not discriminate between ethnic groups o religious faith.

He, therefore, called on the police to protect protesters rather than molest or arrest people who are legitimately protesting for their right.

It would be recalled that the leadership of NLC/TUC had on Tuesday suspended all forms of street protests to checkmate further deterioration of the security situation in the state as hoodlums hijacked the Monday and Tuesday’s protest to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens.

In a related development, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. David Omojola confirmed yesterday the arrest of more than 50 suspects in connection with the alleged violence and looting of property in the state as a result of Monday and Tuesday’s protest.

It was gathered that over N50 million allegedly looted from the bureau de change market on Erie street, off Sakponba Benin City has been returned to security agents, but Omojola, who confirmed the story, however, said “my office is not handling the matter.”

At press time yesterday, Banks and government offices remain closed but more private shops opened business while there were more vehicles in the streets of Benin when compared to the first two days of the strike action.

Protest in Ibadan, Dr Adefemi Afolabi
The Labour and Professional Bodies’ Mass Protest on Day 4 in Ibadan gathers momentum through the Officers’ Mess Idiape, Ibadan on the way to Bodija, and Sango. It is a carnival procession spiced with inspiring lyrics from a live band. The hidden health benefit of this procession is that it will keep the body physically and emotionally fit.

This is beyond just the fuel price hike. It is an emphatic demand for transparency in government that will inspire Nigerians to patriotism. President Goodluck Jonathan should remove corruption from Nigeria instead of inducing slow poverty and death of the people he should be giving comfort; through removal of the main subsidy they enjoy.

Labour protest is heading towards University of Ibadan. Earlier, a press conference held at the NLC Secretariat where labour leaders pleaded with protesters to be peaceful.

Protest continues in Kano, by Ali Muh’d
Protest continues today, the protesters gathered at BUK Old Site and are moving to Kofa Na’isa.

Protesters began resuming very early in the morning at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, for the daily mix of speeches by labour officials and civil society activist with performances by musicians and comedians.

By 11.15am, thousands have filled the venue, listening to various speakers and insisting that they will not leave until government reverses its position on fuel subsidy. The music of the late Afrobeat king and social critic, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is in the air.

Protesters took off from the Julius Berger Junction, now renamed the ‘Peoples’ Square’ in the wake of the current crisis. It is 12.40. The protest is peaceful. At this time, the Senate leadership is awaiting labour leaders at the Apo Residence of David Mark, the Senate president for their scheduled meeting on the fuel subsidy crisis, originally billed to start by 12 noon. There is also rumour that the Senate leadership is meeting or has met with the Presidency.

Government offices and banks are still shut, but normalcy appears to be returning to the streets of Kwali Local Council. Traffic remains light on the Abuja-Lokoja Highway.

Police and soldiers, working together, have stopped labour from carrying out its protests following Governor Sullivan Chime’s ban on public processions.

Protesters with mats take over Fajuyi Memorial Park in the Ekiti State capital, vowing not to leave until government revokes its decision on removal of fuel subsidy. According to Comrade Aluko, NLC Ekiti State Chairman, this arrangement has becomed necessary to avoid ugly incidents.

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  • Baron de valls

    South governors are saboteurs. They are waiting for arrival of their state subsidy share. Ndi oshi

  • Biose Ignatius

    South states are not sabatour as you said. They are tired of the unemployed in the land, and poor infrastructural development. They simply believe and hope that the subsidy reinvestment program of the federal government will bring a change in their life style. Rather than formenting more troubles in the land, let us try alternative dispute resolution method which results in peace and progress from both sides (labour and federal government). Keeping Nigeria one is a task that must be done by all Nigerians. Long the federal republic of Nigeria. Biose Ignatius

  • Nwanganga promise

    The year shouldn’t start with subsidy removal.Nigeria has wealth,the federal government should sort funds from other places for what ever they want to use the fund for.I don’t accept this refinery nonsense.