CSO leaders back NLC on Feb 27, 28 hardship protest

The Labour Civil Society Front, LCSF, a coalition of eminent civil society leaders and groups collaborating with the labour movement on pro-people, pro-poor issues in the country, said they were in full support of the February 27 and 28 labour protest.

Nkoyo Toyo, National Spokesperson, LCSF; Hamisu Turaki, Spokesperson, United Action Front of Civil Society; Prof. Chris Nwaokobia, Jnr Convener, Country First Movement, on behalf of LCSF, on Monday, said:

“LCSF is once again, compelled at this point to state unequivocally that we are unwavering in our support to the organised labour and therefore, fully endorse the nationwide mass protest on hardship slated to hold on February 27 and 28, 2024.

“Consequently, we urge our teeming members and allies across Nigeria to join and participate fully in the peaceful national protest to draw government’s attention to the unmitigated sufferings and impoverishment of Nigerians foisted by the mindless implementation of dehumanizing economic policies of governments at both national and sub national levels of the country.

“Our decision to once align with the organised labour on this mass action does not in anyway have any political, ethnic or religious colouration, as hunger, declining health and orchestrated deaths ravaging Nigerian citizens, have not been discriminatory on grounds of political affiliation, ethnic and religious sentiments.

“Therefore, as a responsible citizens’ group, we wish to clarify that our nationwide mass action is aimed at compelling government to take immediate positive action on:

“The general insecurity of lives and properties of Nigerians that has led to many untimely and avoidable deaths.

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“The abject poverty and pauperisation of everyday Nigerians and the associated sufferings and hunger ravaging the country.

“The pervading crimes and kidnappings for ransom that have forced farmers to abandon their sources of livelihood thereby triggering food insecurity and hopelessness.

“The crash of the value of the Naira almost making it worthless and leading to the escalating cost of everyday necessities in the midst of mind bugling youth unemployment.

“The unconscionable increase in school fees and the non implementation of student loan, both forcing children of the poor out of public schools and further complicating their future.

“The extremely high cost of healthcare services and drugs has further deprived families of the quality of health needed.

“It is regrettable to watch the speedy decline of health capabilities in Nigeria and the growing numbers of Nigerians who have been forced to resort to alternative medicine or resign to fate.

“For us, this is the time to ask the government of President Tinubu to halt this avoidable slide, act in the overarching interest of masses by listening to their demands and draw immediate positive actions that go beyond countless unpredictable cosmetic palliatives to its primary obligation to protect lives and property and ensure the welfare and wellbeing of all citizens.

“It is the right of Nigerians to protest and be protected as citizens while protesting peacefully, as envisaged by the Nigerian constitution.

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“What the country is faced with today are dehumanising and disempowering State policies, which must be addressed as a matter of national emergency.

“We, therefore, call on the Inspector General of Police to provide security to cover this peaceful protest as provided by section 83(4) of the Police Act and by extension the Nigerian constitution.

“We trust that taking a cue from there, the DSS will also provide credible and useful information to government as this will work to ensure the good governance of Nigeria instead of throwing up panicky propaganda.

“We also wish to alert the country that some amorphous groups and state agents masquerading as civil society coalitions have emerged to draw attention to themselves for pecuniary gains.

“However, as far as the best tradition of civil society organisations and youth network are concerned, we in the mainstream of the Nigerian civil society and its Leadership are not bothered.

“We are not affected by those making loose assertions of withdrawal from a protest they were not part of initiating, as they and their agenda will fritter away after this season of hunger and despondency.

“Finally, we have no doubt that our nationwide mass protest will foist the much needed national conversation in setting agenda for improving the terrible welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians, a conversation, which must be with the citizens and not government speaking with their agents,” they added.

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