Labour Ignores Govt Plea, Protests against Deregulation
•Accuses FEC of doctoring Uwais report
From Linda Eroke and Damilola Oyedele in Abuja, 10.30.2009
Nigerian workers yesterday ignored the federal Govern-ment's plea for them not to hold protest rally and made good their threat to hold the protest march in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The workers used the rally to put across their demands on minimum wage and their opposition to deregulation of the petroleum sector without first putting in place certain facilities in place.
This was despite the statement from the Federal Government yesterday that it was ready to enter into negotiation with labour on the matter, and plea on the labour congress not to embark on the protest The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) took their march to the National Assembly where they vowed to disown the members of the National Assembly if they refuse to support Nigerians in the fight against the deregulation policy of the Federal Government.
Earlier they took over major roads in Abuja to protest the planned deregulation policy of the Federal Government, which is expected to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (fuel) to N104. Other grievances, which led to the protest, include the non-implementation of the Uwais Electoral Reform Report, which labour leaders allege has been doctored, and the demand for minimum wage increment to N52, 200.
The Abuja rally which is the eighth and final leg of nationwide protests, took off at about 8.50am yesterday morning at Berger junction through Wuse market, down to the secretariat of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) and finally to the National Assembly where the protesters presented their demands to the lawmakers and asked them to ensure that the injustice of the deregulation policy does not see the light of day.
President of the NLC, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar, while addressing the crowd at the National Assembly Complex, said the government has no justification to remove oil subsidy especially since it has not carried out its side of the bargain on the 2007 agreements for deregulation.
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