NLC To Govt: We’ll Resist Attempt To Criminalize Peaceful Protests 
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NLC To Govt: We’ll Resist Attempt To Criminalize Peaceful Protests 

By Toba Agboola, The Nation

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned the Federal Government that it will resist its plan to criminalize peaceful protests.

Its President, Joe Ajaero, in an Easter message, charged Nigerians to protest within the ambit of the law when they feel short-changed.

“We shall resist any attempt to criminalize our hard-earned right to peaceful protest against the ills perpetrated by operators of the Nigeria state,” he said.

Charging Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ, Ajaero said the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, marked by the feast of Easter, offers everyone a chance for deep reflection on the virtues of the greatest love and sacrifice and undying hope.

“In light of this, we urge workers, indeed all Nigerians, to imbibe the virtues of Easter through the manifestation of the spirit of love through forgiveness, sacrifice, hope, and sincerity,” he said.

The NLC chief stated that workers were urging our leaders at various levels “who brought upon us this level of pain, privation, and acrimony to not treat these virtues as platitudes, but core values for healing, rebuilding, and repositioning of the country.”

He stated that it was important that Jesus died a painful death on the cross, not pleasing the establishment of the day, but challenging it to do the right thing.

Ajaero said, in like manner, the NLC had not only a moral obligation to remind the government of its duties and obligations to the people but would also sensitize the people to their rights.

He said the union was waiting for the Bola Tinubu-led administration to be sworn in before engaging the government on the matter.

In a related event, NLC has said it will soon speak on the controversial plan to remove fuel subsidies.

According to NLC, its position would be made known after May 29.

NLC Vice President, Adewale Adeyanju said the union was yet to come out with any position on the subsidy removal.

 He said the union was waiting for the Bola Tinubu-led administration to be sworn in before engaging the government on the matter.

 Adeyanju said: “The NLC has not come out with its position on the removal of subsidy. It is a market for the big guys. And the incoming administration has not met with us. They have not discussed anything with us. We are still waiting for them to come in.

“They have not discussed anything with us that has to do with the removal of fuel subsidies. So, I can’t comment on that. Let’s wait till the new government is sworn in; then, we need to sit down with them and come out with ideas that will be good for Nigerians.”

 The NLC vice president further denied that the All Progressive Congress  (APC) was accusing the union of opposing the removal of the subsidy.

He said: “I do not think the APC is accusing NLC of opposing the removal. We have not met. They are only using that for their interest because. I don’t think Congress has made any statement either to remove it or not.

“There is no statement from the union. Politicians always like to have their way. There is no way the APC will accuse the NLC on this matter because they won the election and they are going to meet with the NLC. How will they be accusing NLC of not supporting the removal? We have not come out with any statement on the removal of the fuel subsidy.

“The continuation of subsidies may collapse the economy. You are in this country and we know what we are passing through. If you have a replacement, it is better for us. But to continue to deceive us that they are removing it today and not tomorrow is not good.

“They should stop deceiving us. Let us know if they want us to die. We will die once rather than someone deceiving us that it is not going to be reduced and it will be reduced. If they remove it, it is still for the good of all Nigerians and if they don’t remove it, it will be at the other side too, but I know that we are going to pay more.’’

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