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NLC Admonishes  NASS, Says “Cut Down Cost of Governance”

Before meeting the President, organised labour during its protest to the National Assembly, where protesting workers pulled the gate to the complex, had told the lawmakers to cut down cost and allow Nigerians breathe as they were being suffocated.

Security agents had earlier blocked roads leading to the national secretariat and the city center, an action labour said was an attempt to frustrate their efforts.

Besides, police at the entrance to the National Assembly complex had also locked the gate to prevent the protesting workers from gaining entrance but the resilient workers pulled down the gate and forcibly entered the complex.

With placards of different inscriptions and their musical instruments, the organised labour submitted about seven points demands to the leadership of the Senate.

The protesters also complained that in the last two months, members of the Presidential Steering Committee on Palliatives had been meeting wihout progress made.

They had started the peaceful rally at the Unity Fountain and terminated at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, where they submitted their demands to the Senate.

The protest is in respect of the removal of petrol subsidy and the hike in fuel pump price that has caused untold hardship to Nigerians with the increase in goods and services. They equally warned that the country should not be turned into a police state in a democratic dispensation.

Addressing the Senate leadership, represented by the Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume, the President of NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said: “We are here to bring our frustrations, our grievances to the National Assembly, to the Senate to see whether this should be the last resort.

‘’For almost two months now, we have been engaged in discussion, movement without motion, we got frustrated. A day after the last increase of the pump price of petroleum product, some people, some Nigerians protested to the National Assembly to support it and that is allowed in democracy.

“Now we gave notice that we are equally going to protest, at least to speak, to our leaders to tell them how it’s biting us, that the poor can no longer breadth. What we have been getting have been threat, threat from the Ministry of Justice that it’s contempt for Nigerians to protest.

‘’We have told them of various cases, especially the one of ANPP versus the Nigerian Police, where the Appeal Court ruled and eloquently that no court can stop Nigerians from protest rally and that’s the law.

“The Appeal Court went further to argue that Nigerians don’t need Police permit to do their rallies or protests and that it is the duty of the police to protect them, that is we have expressed here today.

“This morning (yesterday), while workers are trying to come out for protest, police and army blocked our members coming from Mararaba, they couldn’t access the venue of the protest, this is a democratic government.

‘’All of us were involved in the fight against the military for democracy to come and we should not be victims in this democratic dispensation.

“To worsen it comrades and we have to explain this to the National Assembly at the gate of the National Assembly, for almost one hour, the police refused us entry. All the entreaties made to them that we came to deliver our letter fell on deaf ears. Nigeria is not a Police state and can never be.

“We can’t degenerate to that position and its our duty by what we have displayed today to show that Nigeria is a free state where workers can express their views. There are a lot of distractions, a lot of threat that we are passing through”

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