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Protesters get attention of Senate after pulling down NASS gate

Protesters get attention of Senate after pulling down NASS gate

On Wednesday, the Senate formed a committee to hold discussions with protesting unions who forcefully opened the first gate of the National Assembly Complex.

The demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, marched from the Unity Fountain in Abuja to the NASS Complex to protest against what they described as “anti-poor” policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration.

After reaching the NASS Complex, the protesters dismantled the first gate and entered the premises.

Emmanuel Ugbaja NLC national secretary in his remarks stated that the union is waiting for the senate to address them, stating that there are a lot of issues that must be addressed for workers.

“The N8,000 palliative is an insult, is that what brought us here; let the senate come and screen the ministerial candidates in public, we don’t want people with two credits, there are many graduates with 2:1 grades,” Channels TV quoted him as saying.

In response, Godswill Akpabi, senate president, called for a closed-door session with the lawmakers and later announced the formation of a three-man committee to meet with the protesters at the National Assembly.

The committee, led by Ali Ndume, the senate chief whip from Borno South Senatorial District, met with the protesters, including Joe Ajaero (NLC President) and Festus Osifo (TUC representative).

The Senate also resolved to meet with the NLC and TUC leadership to seek a peaceful resolution to the current situation.

The organised labor, including NLC and TUC, staged protests in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and several other states to demand the reversal of various anti-poor policies, particularly the petrol subsidy removal, which caused a significant increase in the price of petrol and led to soaring food prices and inflation.

Read also: NLC moves protest to NASS, says “let the poor breathe”

After failed meetings between the Presidency and the unions on palliatives for Nigerians affected by the subsidy removal, tensions escalated, leading to the recent demonstrations.

President Tinubu had removed subsidy on petrol during his epic inauguration speech on May 29, 2023, with a litre of petrol jumping from N184 to over N620 and food prices and general inflation galloping at an unprecedented rate.

Last week, the NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and demanded “the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government including the recent hike in PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers”.

The union also demanded an upward review of the minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000, saying that since the President’s “subsidy is gone” inauguration speech of May 29, 2023, the peace of mind of Nigerians has gone.