Subsidy removal: Niger Govt. backs organised labour protest


By Aluta News

Aug 2, 2023

The Niger State Government has declared its support for the nationwide protest by the organised labour over the hardship faced by Nigerians in the  wake of  the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Mr Yakubu Garba, the Dep. Gov. of the state, made the declaration on Wednesday, when he joined the organised labour protest march  in the state.
The protesters, comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), marched from the Labour House to the State House of Assembly in Minna.
Garba said the upward review of salaries of workers across all levels, would better cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal on citizens, than the palliative that would not be sustainable.
“Labour is not against the government. If there is any sincere driver of government policies,  it is the organised labour.
“But workers are not leaders who make policies. So, any policy that government will formulate should have a human face, so that the masses will not suffer,” Garba said.
He noted that while the organised labour was not part of the policy formulators, it must be allowed to check the actions of government at all levels.
The deputy governor, who was the immediate past Chaiŕman of the NLC in the state, was of the opinion that the best way government would address the hardship being faced by citizens was an upward review of salaries, rather than temporary palliative measures.
He noted that the state  government was working out ways in collaboration with the State House of Assembly, to provide opportunities that would cushion the effects of subsidy on citizens in the state.
On his part, Mr Ibrahim Gana, state Chairman, TUC, said that the salaries of workers in the state, had ended up in transporting them to work, since the removal of the fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
Gana said that the development had subjected workers and other residents, to untold hardship, due to rising cost of living.
Also Mr Idris Lafene, the state NLC Chairman, said there was no going back by the  labour union on its demands, to improve the welfare of workers and the general public.
Lafene said that part of the demands from the state government was the payment of N60, 000 palliative to all workers across all levels in the state.
He said that under the circumstance, government must regulate prices of commodities, address infrastructure decay and ensure living wage, rather than minimum wage.
Similarly, Mr Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji,  Speaker of the State House of Assembly, said that the Assembly was in support of the protest because of the untold hardships the removal of the subsidy had caused the citizens.
Sarkin-Daji said that the organised labour should be involved in the distribution of any palliative to the people, in a bid to ensure that it got to them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the messages on the placards carried by the workers: Don’t suffocate the poor; fix local refinaries;  Pay university workers eight months arrears” among others.
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