This Protest is About Hunger – NLC Chair Claims

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said the two-day protest that the union is embarking on is about hunger and not just a clamour for a review of the minimum wage. 

The NLC president Joe Ajaero debunked the claim from some quarters that the union is protesting only about a hike in the country’s minimum wage of N30,000.

Yesterday, the Federal Government and NLC authorities held an emergency meeting to forestall the protest, the dialogue ended in a deadlock.

“You have to understand it. This protest is about hunger. What of those who are not working? The minimum wage, when will it be completed? When will it be implemented? What will be the minimum wage that will remove hunger?”

“The UN said that every the poorest man should be fed on $2 per day. That’s the poorest. And if you have a family of six people, $2 per day by six is $12,” he said while addressing the press in Abuja.

“In a month, you have $360 which translates to about N700,000. Is that the minimum wage you’re talking about? Is that what will feed you? That’s feeding alone. I’m not talking about transportation and accommodation. So what are we saying? What about medical? What are we saying?

“Well, you know, we don’t, we don’t tell them what to do. We will tell them how we feel. There was hunger in the land, but it wasn’t this bad until deregulation. And then after the regulation, we proposed all that we needed to. If they had solved the problem of transportation immediately, they would have solved almost 50% of the problem.

“Because even when you process garri in the village, you need to transport it to town. The expenses you incurred on transportation, you add it to the cost of garri.”

Ajaero claimed that since the fuel subsidy was removed, the Federal Government has not complied with union requests, which has increased the expense of living.

“So the moment they touch PMS, you can’t fill your tank with N30,000, N40,000. So the moment they touched it. We said, ‘OK, bring CNG buses. This is  7-8 months, no one bus is on the street,” the NLC chief said.

“So we have provided all those solutions, even the cash transfer. They are still telling us now that they will start the cash transfer and they were playing politics with it that they were diverting it to their accounts. After today, we review our situation and decide on other steps to be taken.”

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