From Tongnaan Bawa, Jos
The organised labour in Plateau, on Wednesday joined their colleagues across the country to protest against fuel subsidy removal.
They called on government to fix the nation’s refineries and stop arbitrary increase of school fees and taxes.
Eugene Manji, Chairman, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Plateau Council while addressing the workers, said that subsidy removal has exposed Nigerians to untold hardship.
Manji said that some Nigerians could barely feed their families because of the harsh economic situation.
“I wonder how many parents will be able to pay their children school fees in September?
“The increase of fuel from N195 to N617 has affected every sector of the economy.
“We are not antagonising government but we are suffocating under the current economic challenges.
“Before you remove subsidy, fix our refineries and stop importing refined petroleum and ensure that every transaction concerning petroleum is done in our local currency (Naira and Kobo),” he stated.
The chairman appealed to government to listen to the plight of the masses of the country rescind it decision.
Mr Kenneth Shamah, Chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Plateau chapter said that it was the first time organised labour made chatter of demands and suggest practical solutions.
Shamah said that the peaceful protest was not about the workers but for everyone suffering in Nigeria.
According to him, many people can no longer feed their families as many businesses have crumbled.
Prof. Chris Piwuna, National Vice President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) said that ASUU has always stood for students and Nigerian public.
Piwuna urged government and indeed the ruling class to have a rethink and listen to the cries of the masses.
“There are taxes everywhere, electricity tariffs have gone up and the cost of food skyrocketed.
“In the span of just two months, the price of petrol has gone up for over 300 per cent.
“Our leaders should listen, fix our refineries and go back to the resolutions reached between the Federal Government and the NLC on subsidy removal.
“They should also pay university staff their eight months outstanding salaries,” he said.
Prime Time News reports that by 8:00am, members of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, civil society organizations, Students Union bodies and their affiliates as well as their sympathizers, assembled at the the State secretariat Junction jos, the held posters with inscriptions, “Let the poor breath, we deserve better, stop the bad policies” amongst others.
Security Personnel were on hand to ensure law and order.