How NLC protesters disregarded Police’ counsel


How NLC protesters disregarded Police’ counsel

Agrieved members of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and its affiliated unions on Wednesday, August 2, commenced what it described as a peaceful protest against the recent removal of fuel subsidy by Nigeria’s president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The president had in his inaugural address on May 29, 2023, announced that the era of petrol subsidy was over.

This immediately led to a hike in the pump price of petrol, transport fares in certain areas, and tremendous inflation across several market segments.

Reacting, the NLC in a statement, made a call on the government, citing the challenges occasioned by the pronouncement.

The NLC prayed the government to find alternative means of resolving Nigeria’s problems rather than bringing untold hardship on Nigerians.

The congress also urged the FG to consider initiating palliatives as a means to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal.

But while the government failed to decisively deal with the issue amongst others raised by the NLC, thereby, not being committed to the committee it setted up to that regard, the NLC announced that it would be launching a nationwide protest to call the FGs attention, louder this time around.

NLC protesters in Makurdi, Benue State

The government upon hearing NLCs plans, sought to prevent the congress from protesting but the congress maintained its stand that it was allowed by law, to protest peacefully even without any permission from the police.

Prior to Wednesday, the NLC declared that it would not call off it’s planned protest despite efforts by the federal government to prevent it from demonstrating peacefully.

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To that effect, members of the NLC across the nation, on Wednesday, went out in their numbers to protest. But things went sour when the protesters in Lagos became deregulated and pulled down the gate at the entrance of the national assembly.

NASS gate pulled down by NLC protesters on Wednesday, August, 2.

This was in defiance to a counsel by the Police Force public relations officer, CP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, who in a statement titled “no room for violent protests in nigeria,” admonished protesters to maintain peaceful conduct as the Police was ready to provide enough security for protesters.

According to the statement, shared on the official Twitter handle of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, Olumuyiwa Adejobi said:

“The Acting Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, Ph.D., NPM, is deeply concerned about recent developments regarding planned nationwide protests by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC). While being mindful of the right to peaceful protest, as enshrined in our Constitution, the IGP urges all parties involved to ensure that the planned demonstrations are conducted in a peaceful manner to prevent being hijacked by miscreants, owing to the previous ugly experiences of such protests in most major cosmopolitan cities in the country. The IGP, however, acknowledges the grievances raised by the labour unions and the importance of constructive dialogue, which is sine qua none, in addressing these issues.

“In light of this, the IGP orders the Commissioners of Police in charge of various commands, and supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, to engage in fruitful discussions with the NLC/TUC leadership to foster understanding and reach common grounds on the planned protests. A peaceful and coordinated approach is crucial to achieving meaningful solutions and preventing any form of violence or disruptions to public order, should the protests persist.

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“The Nigeria Police Force reiterates its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all citizens during the period of the planned protests as all necessary measures to facilitate the peaceful conduct of these demonstrations have been emplaced. However, it is hereby reaffirmed that any attempt by miscreants to exploit the situation for violent purposes viz-a-viz vandalism, gangsterism, and extortion will be met with firm, professional and commensurate lawful approach. The Police will not tolerate any act that threatens the peace and well-being of our country.

“In light of the potential challenges posed by the planned protests, the Nigeria Police Force is fully prepared to deploy all available resources to maintain law and order and to protect the lives and property of our citizens. The IGP therefore calls on all officers to be vigilant, professional, and uphold the highest standards of conduct during this period.

“The Police boss urges all stakeholders, including the NLC, TUC, and other civil society groups, to embrace peaceful dialogue as the most effective means of resolving grievances, while also reemphasizing that the Police is committed to ensuring a secure and conducive environment for open dialogue, constructive engagement and mutual understanding for a seamless exercise of civil rights.”

According to reports, the protesters pulled down the gate at the national assembly complex when they arrived there and the gates were locked by security officials.

They reportedly forced their way into the complex by pulling down the gate while chanting solidarity songs.

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