Ajaero Asserts: NLC Protest Driven by Hunger, Not Just Minimum Wage Concerns

Daud Olatunji

In a two-day protest organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the union emphasized that their primary motive is to combat hunger rather than solely pushing for a review of the existing minimum wage.

Despite attempts at dialogue between the Federal Government and NLC authorities to prevent the protest, the discussions concluded without reaching a resolution, leading to the continuation of the protest.

President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, clarified on Tuesday that the union’s focus extends beyond advocating for an increase in the country’s minimum wage of N30,000.

 Ajaero highlighted the pervasive issue of hunger affecting both employed and unemployed individuals. 

He questioned the completion and implementation timeline of the minimum wage, emphasizing the necessity of a wage that addresses the fundamental concern of hunger.

Ajaero referenced the United Nations’ recommendation that the poorest individuals should be able to sustain themselves on $2 per day. Expanding on this, he pointed out that for a family of six, this amounts to $12 per day, translating to approximately N700,000 monthly.

 Ajaero underscored the inadequacy of this amount to cover basic necessities such as food, let alone transportation, accommodation, and medical expenses.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the situation, Ajaero accused the Federal Government of neglecting the union’s demands since the removal of fuel subsidy, resulting in an increased cost of living. 

He attributed the severity of hunger to the deregulation policies and urged immediate attention to solving transportation issues as a crucial step in alleviating the problem.

Ajaero also highlighted the union’s proposed solutions, including the introduction of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses and cash transfer initiatives. 

However, he criticized the government’s delay in implementing these measures, stating that after evaluating the situation, the union would consider additional steps to address the ongoing crisis.

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