Ondo Workers Protest Against Hunger, Hardship

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Ondo state, on Tuesday, joined their colleagues nationwide to demand an end to the excruciating pains, hunger and economic hardship confronting Nigerians.

The labour leaders, who led the protest on the streets of Akure and walked down to the Alagbaka governor’s office, said it was high time for President Bola Tinubu to tax the rich and subsidised the poor to end the rising cost of living and hardship in the country. 

The protesters who were armed with placards bearing different inscriptions were escorted by armed Police Officers and the men of the State Security Service (SSS). 

Speaking with Journalists, the state chairman of NLC, Victor Amoko, said their demostration on the street became necessary in the face of the economic hardship being suffered by Nigerians under the present dispensation. 

He reeled out the demands of labor to include rehabilitation of refineries, taxation of the rich in the country and replacement of students loan by free education among other demands.

“We have tried every possible means to get the government to listen to us but it seems this is the only language that they want to understand. So, we are here to press further and tell the federal government that the entire citizens of the country are suffering. There is hunger and poverty in the land. We have made our demand known and part of it is, that we are saying No to hunger.

“Let the government reject IMF and World Bank Policy, so that the entire citizens will also have a breathing space. Stop prolificacyy of government. They should tax the rich and subsidise the poor. Fix local refinery too and end the subsidy. Stop school fees increase.” 

He vowed that the members of the NLC are prepared to resist every attempt by the federal government to subvert the will of the Nigerian masses, stressing that it’s time the Tinubu led administration addresses the issue of hunger.

The state governor, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, while addressing the protesters assured of continued support from the present administration in the state.

Governor Aiyedatiwa, who was represented by the state Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele, said though, there had been high level of harmonious relationship and industrial peace between government and labour in the state, he is not unconscious of the current economic situation in the country and its effects on the citizens.

While pledging to relay the message of the NLC to President Bola Tinubu, he reiterated its resolve to ameliorate the situation in the state by continuing all the palliative measures put in place to assuage the effect on the citizens.

According to him, while the state had since began monthly payment of thirty five thousand naira wage award to its workers just like the federal government and additional ten thousand to retirees, additional 5 CNG buses had been procured to be added to the existing buses early deployed to commute workers and students to and from work and schools. 

His words, ‘We thank you for making this protest a very peaceful one. There is no doubt about the fact that in Ondo State, the NLC, the TUC who are the key representatives of the labour force have been partners in progress just as the state had taken the issues of labour and workers as very critical and that is why from time to time, we have always adopted the principle of negotiation and dialogue.’

‘I want to say, the government of Ondo State is not unaware of the difficult situation that we have found ourselves because of the state of our economy. You will bear me out that this government has taken proactive steps to ensure that the level of hardship and difficulty is assuaged for workers in the state.’

‘Ondo State Government had ensured that for every worker in the state today, we have cleared all outstanding arreas of salaries. This is a way to keep workers floating and going in the midst of hard economic reality we have to face.’

‘Beyond that, government have put in place some programmes and activities to assuage the problems and that includes the free transport shuttle. In fact, the programme ought to have ended in December last year but the governor saw that the issue of the cost of transport needs to be taken care of and has continued to approve money every month so that our workers would continue to enjoy free transport from their homes to their offices and back to their homes.’

‘Ondo State Government will continually be taking proactive steps as the need arises to ensure that our workers are well taken care of.”

Fidelis David in Akure