Protesters hit the streets of Nigeria as gridlock ensues due to subsidy removal

Last updated 21:25 GMT

As early as 7:00 am, hundreds of protesters gathered at the iconic Ikeja under-bridge and marched towards the state House of Assembly in response to the federal government's decision to end the petrol subsidy, causing fuel prices, transportation costs, and inflation to rise significantly across various sectors.

The NLC, along with civil society organizations (CSOs), had given the government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse what they deemed "anti-poor" and "insensitive" policies
NLC protest across Nigeria

Read, Ajaero slams Tinubu's speech as unrealistic

The NLC, along with civil society organizations (CSOs), had given the government a seven-day ultimatum to reverse what they deemed "anti-poor" and "insensitive" policies.

The protest resulted in a massive gridlock, with protesters displaying placards and chanting slogans against the subsidy removal and expressing their grievances over the cost of living.

The demonstrators demanded immediate action from the government to address the impact of the subsidy removal on ordinary citizens already facing economic challenges.

Femi Falana, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist, offered advice to the National Assembly on the controversial N70 billion renovation at the protest ground, urging them to prioritize citizens' welfare and reconsider their decisions.

Former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, addressed the protesters, assuring them that their concerns had been acknowledged and would be taken into consideration by relevant authorities.

Despite demonstrations happening nationwide, the pressure on the federal government to address the subsidy removal issue and its impact on the Nigerian population continues to increase. The protest remains peaceful and determined as the NLC and other groups continue their march towards the state House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, Workers from Abia state have joined their counterparts in a protest.

The protest, organized by the leadership of two union bodies, was in opposition to the increase in school fees in federal government-owned schools. Thousands of protesters gathered at Okpara Square, Umuahia, starting early at 8.00 am and marched through the state capital's streets.

Abia State Governor Alex Otti clarified that the protest wasn't directed at the state government but rather against the federal government's removal of fuel subsidy. He commended the protesters for their peaceful demands.

NLC Chairman in Abia, Paschal Nweke, and TUC Chairman, Ihechi Eneogwe, criticized the harsh economic policies of the federal government, affecting Nigerian workers and artisans. They expressed disappointment that dialogues with the Federal Government on resolving the fuel subsidy crisis had been unproductive.

Due to security concerns, there was tight security along the protest routes to prevent potential hijacking by hoodlums. The presence of soldiers from the 14 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, police, and personnel from the Directorate of State Services (DSD) ensured patrolling of major areas in the town, including Market Road, Bank Road, Government House, Aba Road, and the Government House gate.

Abia State Commissioner of Police Ken Onwuemelie also arrived at Okpara Square earlier to ensure the protest remained peaceful. The protest caused heavy traffic in the city center, leading to bank customers and government offices being affected as they adhered to the NLC directive and shut their gates.

Also, protesters from organized labor in Ogun demand the repair of the country's refineries, resulting in the shutdown of major roads due to the subsidy protest.

The demands of the workers were resolute and unified as they passionately called for the urgent repair and revival of the Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna refineries.

With a massive show of strength, they thronged out in large numbers to make their voices heard. Armed with various placards, the workers marched from the NLC Secretariat in the bustling Leme Area of Abeokuta metropolis, making their way to the Governor's Office in Oke-Mosan, creating an impressive sight that halted free vehicular movement and drew attention to their cause.

The placards they carried bore powerful inscriptions, reflecting the hardships faced by the poor and the grievances against the current administration's policies.

Messages such as "Let the poor breathe, don't suffocate them," "Stop importation of petrol, revive the refineries now!!!," "Stop the looting, tax the rich and subsidize the poor," and "Give workers what is due" boldly conveyed their demands to the authorities and the public alike.

Among their primary concerns was the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies implemented under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's administration.

They vehemently expressed their dissatisfaction with the removal of fuel subsidies, the relentless hike in school fees, and the increased Value-Added Tax (VAT).

These policies were considered deeply detrimental to the well-being of the common people, leaving them to bear the brunt of the economic hardships.

Moreover, the workers passionately voiced their frustration over the eight-month-long withholding of university lecturers' salaries, condemning such "inhuman actions" by the government.

They demanded an end to the policies that had led to widespread suffering among Nigerian workers, exacerbating the already challenging living conditions of the people.

The protest was led by the Chairman of the NLC in the state, Hammed Ademola, who emphasized that their actions were in full compliance with the directive from the national body of the union.

Addressing the crowd, he declared, "We have to be on the street; we must not wait until we die. Our destiny is always in our hands, and now is the right time for us to tell the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that we Nigerians are suffering."

He went on to express deep concern about the paradox of Nigeria, a nation blessed with abundant crude oil resources yet continues to import petroleum products from abroad.

The removal of fuel subsidies has only exacerbated the plight of the masses, further highlighting the need for immediate action and change.

Echoing Ademola's sentiments, Akeem Lasisi, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress in the state, emphasized that subsidies were a constitutional responsibility of any government and a global practice.

He lamented the corruption that plagued the subsidy system but expressed disappointment in the government's decision to remove the subsidy altogether, rather than tackling the root causes of corruption.

The workers' resolute stand and united protest sought to amplify their concerns, urging the authorities to listen to their pleas and take concrete steps to alleviate the burdens faced by the ordinary citizens.

The display of unity and determination served as a stark reminder that the fate of the nation rested in the hands of its people, and it was high time to address the hardships they endured.

Protesters in Kogi state express their concerns over the rising cost of living for workers.

Early in the morning at 7 am, a large group of members gathered at Ganaja junction, Lokoja, and is currently marching through major streets of the state capital.

The protesters, carrying various placards, voiced their grievances about the high cost of living caused by the removal of fuel subsidies.

They called on the federal government to reverse its anti-people policies that have led to hardships for Nigerians.

The State Chairman of the NLC, Comrade Gabriel Amari, read and handed over a letter to the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

He expressed concern about the removal of fuel subsidy without providing adequate relief for the masses, resulting in untold hardships.

Comrade Amari emphasized the need for both federal and state governments to act promptly to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians, as the recent fuel price increase has affected other sectors of the economy.

The peaceful protest was organized following the directive from the National Secretariat of the Organized Labour to express the displeasure of the Union on behalf of Nigerians to the Federal Government.

Among the Union's demands were the immediate implementation of resolutions reached and signed between the government and the committee set up by the labor, reversing the increase in fuel pump prices and fees at unity schools nationwide, reviving the nation's local refineries, and promptly paying the outstanding eight-month salary arrears of university lecturers.

Upon receiving the letter, the state governor, represented by his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, appealed for patience and assured that measures are being taken to address the matter.

He acknowledged the pain felt by the masses due to recent developments in the country and commended the organized Labour in Kogi State for conducting a peaceful protest.

The Delta NLC claims that Tinubu's policies are not in favor of the people

In a united display of discontent, the organized labor in the state, under the banner of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), stood in solidarity with their counterparts across the country, staging a peaceful protest against the government's decision to remove fuel subsidies.

On this day, the labor leaders successfully mobilized workers who converged at the state secretariat of NLC in Asaba. With fervor and determination, they marched through the bustling streets, their voices raised in harmony, chanting solidarity songs that echoed the collective grievances of the masses.

The protest reached its crescendo when the demonstrators gathered at the stately Government House, seeking an audience with Governor Sheriff Oborevwori.

There, amid a sea of placards and banners demanding change, the labor leaders passionately voiced their concerns and called upon the President to address the dire situation, urging him to "allow Nigerians to breathe" amidst the mounting challenges caused by the government's policies.

The Chairman of NLC in the state, Comrade Goodluck Ofobruku, took the stage during the protest, serving as a vocal advocate for the plight of the people.

With unwavering conviction, he decried the government's anti-worker and anti-people policies, which, in his view, had plunged the nation further into the depths of poverty and hardship.

Ofobruku lamented that Nigeria, once labeled the headquarters of global poverty, had only witnessed an exacerbation of its citizens' suffering, with a staggering 70 percent of their salaries being consumed by the rising costs of transportation alone.

The remaining 30 percent, he emphasized, was woefully insufficient to provide even a single family member with the basic necessities of life.

The impassioned labor leader denounced the government's apparent lack of empathy, citing the allocation of staggering sums of money - N70 billion for legislators and N35 billion for a mere hundred judges - while neglecting the needs of the suffering masses.

He vehemently demanded an end to the increasing burden placed on the already struggling populace and implored the government to heed the call of the people, who were demanding an end to these detrimental policies.

Ofobruku, on behalf of the protesting masses, criticized the President's recent broadcast, finding no inspiration in its content.

Instead, he expressed frustration over the government's allocation of funds, questioning why they would choose to retain N1 trillion while sharing only N900 billion, when the people were in dire need of immediate relief.

He argued that the government must prioritize the implementation of palliatives to alleviate the hardships faced by the people.

Among their list of demands, the labor leaders insisted on the immediate and good-faith implementation of previously agreed resolutions reached with the government in July.

Additionally, they called for a reversal of all anti-people policies, raising concerns over the lack of transparency in subsidy collection and disbursement.

Ofobruku firmly challenged the government to expose those benefiting from the subsidy funds meant for the people and asked why the burden should fall on the masses while a select few benefited.

The protesters also voiced their opposition to increased school fees for unity schools and universities and the recent hike in Value Added Tax (VAT).

They expressed deep disappointment at the government's apparent lack of action in reviving the country's ailing refineries, while billions were invested in a private refinery.

In response to the protesters, Governor Oborevwori, represented by his Senior Policy Adviser, Solomon Funkekeme, acknowledged the hardships endured by the people and assured the labor leaders that the state government shared their concerns.

He pledged to deliver their message to the President and promised that labor would be actively involved in the negotiation process for a comprehensive and people-friendly palliative program.

Reassuring the protesters, Governor Oborevwori emphasized the state government's commitment to prioritizing the welfare of its citizens above all else.

He promised that Deltans would be taken care of in the forthcoming programs designed to address their needs and alleviate their hardships, with the aim of ensuring a better and more equitable future for all.

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