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Katsina

Coalition: Planned NLC protest needless — FG working to address hardship

BY Samuel Akpan

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A coalition known as Katsina Groups for National Unity and Integration has called on the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to shelve its planned protest.

The NLC had declared a two-day warning protest to be held on February 27 and 28 over the economic hardship being faced by Nigerians.

In a communique issued after their meeting in Katsina on Sunday, the coalition said while Nigerians are “feeling the heat” of the high cost of living and spate of insecurity, the government is taking measures to address the situation.

The groups highlighted the steps put in place to tackle the economic crisis by the government, including the recent inauguration of the committee on national minimum wage, formation of the presidential compressed natural gas (CNG) initiative and establishment of seven CNG conversion centres across the geopolitical zones of the country, as well as cutting “frivolous government expenditures”.

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“Worthy of mention is the engagement with various stakeholders, including meetings with the state governors of which the main agenda is how to tame the rising cost of living and spate of insecurity,” the coalition said.

“It is in light of the foregoing, that we feel that the upcoming nationwide protests by the NLC is needless.”

The coalition said the NLC “has not exhausted all the available options for dialogue” before declaring the nationwide protest.

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“So far the Federal Government has not shown any disdain to the Labour. We have seen how the federal government is engaging the Organized Labour,” the groups said.

“And the fact that some steps were taken towards meeting their demands shows a high measure semblance of commitment on the part of the FG. Hence we feel that the new administration deserves to enjoy the benefit of the doubt.

“Realistically speaking, no government on this earth can meet the demands of the N.L.C. in 14 days hence we advise the Organized Labour to shelve their planned nationwide protests.”

The groups said previous protests have done the country “more harm than good”.

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“Using our recent experience during the #ENDSARS Protest and other street protests that happened prior to ENDSARS, street demonstrations and strikes through constitutional rights, do us more harm than good,” the coalition said.

“Thus, at this critical point in time, let the Organized Labour avoid doing anything that may undermine the existing fragile peace.

“While advocating dialogue, we condemn in the strongest term, those groups and individuals, who are making political capital out of the suffering of Nigerians.

“This coalition is further calling on  government at sub-national levels to augment the efforts of the federal government by rolling out different measures to cushion the hardship among the masses.”

The coalition asked NLC to continue to engage the government using dialogue until their demands are met.

The communique was signed by Hamza Saulawa, the coalition’s coordinator; Bishir Unguwa, its secretary; and Rilwanu Mukhtar, director of contact and mobilisation.

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