13 January 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS – Organisers of mass protest/Occupy Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Civil Society groups have asked protesters all over the country to stay at home on Saturday and Sunday to enable them get enough rest and refreshment for continuation of the protests next week.
The announcement comes on the fifth day of a general strike over the removal of a fuel subsidy, which has caused fuel prices and transport fares to double.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets, while several people have died in clashes with police.
Labour said Thursday’s talks with the president were “fruitful” and would continue on Saturday.
Addressing a mammoth crowd at the Gani Fawehinmi Freedom Park, Ojota, Lagos, Friday, the leader of Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare said the two-day break was to allow the protesters to relax their nerves and reconvene on Monday in pursuance of their agenda.
He informed that protests would resume in full force on Monday if the government insists on the current price of petrol.
He urged the government to take advantage of the break to revert to N65, as according to him, from next week, protesters will not only occupy Lagos but will also occupy Abuja and other major cities in the country.
Bakare also disclosed that PENGASSAN has been directed to shut down all operations in the upstream oil sector by Sunday if the government did not revert to N65 without any condition.
Meanwhile, in view of the ongoing dialogue between Labour and FG, protesters have vowed to continue with their occupation if the labour leaders compromised on its stand. According to them, it is N65 or nothing.
“We will not retreat and we will not surrender. Even if labour leaders call off the strike, people’s protest will continue until government does what is just”, Bakare reiterated.
Nigeria Labour Congress official, Isa Aremu, earlier told Reuters news agency that protests on Friday would be “minimal”.
“We are conscious of the security situation given it is Friday and Friday is a day of prayer (for Muslims),” he said.
The mass action and anger about the removal of the fuel subsidy comes as President Goodluck Jonathan also tries to tackle a new wave of sectarian violence.