Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi has commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) for organising a peaceful protest rally on Wednesday in Lokoja.
Bello gave the commendation when he received the organised labour at the end of their protests over the removal of fuel subsidy at Government House Lokoja.
Our correspondent reports that the protest which kicked off at Ganaja flyover-under bridge at about 9:30 a.m., terminated at Government House at about 11:30am.
Represented by his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, the governor commended the labour unions for organising a peaceful protest that was free of disruptions and violence in the state.
“We have listened to your requests on why you embarked on these protests.
“Every Nigerian feels the impact of the policies including the President, governors, workers, business men and the masses at large,” he said.
The governor noted that President Bola Tinubu had addressed Nigerians in a nationwide broadcast on Monday, and had expressed the necessary actions to be taken to tackle the hardship facing Nigerians as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy.
“We have received your letter which detailed your five demands and I promise that the governor will deliver your letter to the President.
“Let’s believe in our leadership, let’s believe in ourselves, Nigeria will be better and the poor will breathe,” Onoja said.
Earlier, the state’s NLC Chairman, Gabriel Amari, said the protest was the directive of the national body of labour force.
According to him, it is to protest against the hardships Nigerians are facing, occasioned by fuel subsidy removal and the recent hike in pump price of the premium motor spirit otherwise known as PMS,
“The impact of the subsidy removal and the recent hike in pump price has gone down to every facets of our lives including goods and services.
“The people of Nigeria can no longer afford three square meals for their families per day.
“It didn’t stopped there, recently, the school fees of higher institutions in Nigeria have been increased with emphasis to Unity Schools.
“Today, a common man can no longer afford a loaf of bread because the price has gone up to N1200; things keep increasing on daily basis,” Amari said.
He stressed that Nigerians came out in their thousands to cast their votes for Tinubu because of his antecedents as governor of Lagos State.
“This is not the renewed hope promised by President Bola Tinubu; that is not our expectations in Kogi.
“Today, our hope is dashed but by the grace of Almighty God, we will be delivered.
“What is happening now is unbearable and we can no longer tolerate the suffering; they should allow the poor to breathe,” he said.
The labour leader prayed that God would inspire the government to do the right thing and bring smiles back to the faces of Nigerians.
Amari, thereafter, presented the letter of their demands from the national body of the organised labour to the deputy governor for onward delivery to the President by the governor.
According to Amari, the demands includes immediate implementation in good faith of the resolutions with congress jointly signed with government and trade union congress.
“Immediate reversal of all anti people policies of government including the recent hike in PMS price, school fess and Value Added Tax (VAT).
“Fix our local refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna for optimum performance. Release of eight months withheld salaries of university lecturers.
“Accord appropriate recognition and support to the Presidential steering committee and the works of its subcommittee. Stop the inhuman actions and policies of government.”
The NLC chairman commended the Police and other security agencies for providing adequate security which ensured a hitch free protest.