The Niger State Deputy Governor, Yakubu Garba, on Wednesday joined the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress in a peaceful march to protest what they termed “the Federal Government’s insensitive policy of fuel subsidy removal.”
Garba, who was the immediate past NLC chairman in the state, participated fully in the protest which took the participants round the state capital and ended at the state Assembly complex.
He called on the FG to reconsider its stance and be humane in implementing painful economic policies and programmes.
“Policies that bring hardship to people should be implemented with a human face. Since it was causing serious hardship to the people, the Federal Government can reconsider its stance on the matter.”
He said the state government was committed to continue promoting the welfare of the people, saying labour had spoken loud and clear, and government would respond to their demands.
The incumbent state NLC Chairman, Idris Lafene, led the protesters from the Labour House, IBB Road, Minna, and converged at the state Assembly complex.
In his address to the protesters, Lafene described the policy of President Tinubu as anti-people, which he said, had imposed untold hardship on the ordinary Nigerians. He called on the President to retrace his steps and do away with the policy.
Lafene said, “The fuel subsidy removal policy of the Federal Government has imposed untold hardship on the masses of Nigeria, especially its workforce, and we have to stand up against it.
“The objective of this protest to the state assembly as an arm of government is to urge the legislature to impress on the Federal Government to make life easy for the less privileged Nigerians.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, intervene in the transportation sector, education sector, health, agriculture sectors as well as assist small and medium enterprises to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy at all levels,” he said.
Lafene explained that Nigerlites had been faced with numerous problems ranging from security challenges, bad roads, infrastructural decay and hike in the prices of foodstuffs. He noted that farmers could go to their farms anymore, a situation he said, was uncalled for.
“You can not compare Niger State with other states. We are faced with infrastructure decay everywhere, our roads are not motorable. It is only in Niger State that people fix prices of goods in the market without anybody talking. We are in a sorry situation in Niger,” Lafene said.
The NLC Chairman called on the state government to review the salaries of workers, pensioners and casual workers across board, and advised the people to go about their normal businesses and not to take the law into their hands, adding that things will get better soon.
The Speaker of the state Assembly, Abdulmalik Daji, in his addressed the crowd, lauded the conduct of the NLC leadership for the peaceful manner they handled the protest.
He assured that the legislature was 100 per cent in support of the Labour objectives.
Daji disclosed that, already, the assembly had earlier proposed three motions to the state government, including the upward review of workers’ salaries and pensioners allowances, and provision of palliatives to the less privileged to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal.
“I assure you that you are in the right place and your communication will be delivered to Mr. President. I will lead other members to the Presidency,” Malik said.
Some of the protesters who reacted to the participation of the deputy governor said it was a boost to the protest.