Protest has rocked Ogun state as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, Ogun Chapters came out in mass, demanding urgent action on economic justice and improved living conditions.
The unions on Wednesday, at the governor’s office, Abeokuta, lamented the effects of subsidy removals on Nigerians, as they demanded for a ‘Living Wage’ and comprehensive welfare reforms.
Chanting slogans and carrying placards, the protesters marched from the NLC secretariat in the Leme area of Abeokuta to the governor’s office in Oke-Mosan preventing free vehicular movement.
Their voices rang out with a collective plea: “We can’t be eating bone while some are eating meat.”
The chairman of the TUC, Alaba Lasisi, passionately addressed the gathering crowd, stating, “we are here because Nigerians should not bear the brunt of corruption and mismanagement.”
The protesters emphasized that ordinary citizens should not have to suffer while the privileged few thrive.
The heart of the protest focused on the recent removal of subsidies and its far-reaching effects on industries and citizens alike.
Speaking also, the NLC Chairman, Ademola Deko, highlighted the urgency of the situation, stressing that, “we want something that would cushion the effect.”
The workers emphasized that immediate measures are needed to alleviate the financial strain experienced by many due to the subsidy removal.
The demand for a ‘Living Wage’ reverberated through the protest, with both NLC and TUC calling for a comprehensive overhaul of the minimum wage system to ensure fair compensation that keeps pace with the current economic reality.
The unions stressed that proper welfarism is vital to safeguard the rights and well-being of workers and their families.
One of the central issues raised during the protest was the need for greater transparency and accountability in the management of essential services.
The workers therefore called for the return of all four refineries to public control and the punishment of those responsible for manipulating these vital facilities.
As the protest gained momentum, the governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi, acknowledged the challenges faced by the government in meeting the workers’ demands.
He therefore assured them that urgent response would be made, although he stressed that there are limitations to what the state government can do.
“We can only give what we are capable of,” he stated, reflecting the complexities of balancing economic constraints and the needs of the people.
He stressed that the state government can’t effect the minimum wage, however, he said that to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidy, “we are setting up palliative centers, and we’ll soon give out motorcycles that are using electricity.”
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