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News Update (January 9, 2012 09:38 AM...)

Anti-fuel subsidy removal protesters shut down Kaduna


Photo: Chairman of NLC, Kaduna State, Adamu Ango and other abour leaders during the protest in Kaduna on 9/1/2012.

Kaduna (WorldStage Newsonline)-- Two former governors of Kaduna State, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa and Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (rtd) led thousands of protesters on Monday to shut down Kaduna over removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

The protest was organized by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress(TUC), joined by members of the Kaduna branch of the Nigerian Bar Association(NBA), the Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Coordinator of the Occupy Nigeria, Barrister Tajudeen Ladoja, Civil Rights Congress (CRC)s president , Mallam Shehu Sani as well as members of the Nigerian Medical Association.

The popular Shiek Abubakar Gumi Central Market was shut down. There was no trading in the market while major streets in the metropolis and environs were completely deserted as resident stayed at home. Commercial banks and other financial institutions in the state were under lock and key.

As early as 7:00am residents had started trooping the NLC secretariat on the Independent Way where they marched under the heavy cover of the security operatives in the state. They marched through to the Independence way to the Lugard Hall Roundabout which was renamed freedom square by members of the Occupy Nigeria group who had stationed themselves at the roundabout since last week.

At the square youths danced to the melodious tune of popular musician Idris Abdulkareem, Nigeria jagara-jagara, everything scatter- scatter

The youth carried placard with inscription such as Goodluck stop bombing our brothers, you are the Boko Haram; Nigerians say no to fuel subsidy removal; We say no to fuel subsidy removal, hardship has no religious face; Prosecute the oil cabal now; Removal of fuel subsidy is worst than Boko Haram; No democracy in Nigeria: be informed Mr. President, among others.

They marched through the major streets in the Alkali / Ahmadu Bello Way. They attempted to force themselves into the famous Lord Lugard Hall, the seat of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, but they were turned back by security.

Although, the rally was generally peaceful, hoodlums, who later hijacked it forcefully pulled down the billboards of Governor Patrick Yakowa and anything that had the imprints of President Goodluck Jonathan and Namadi Sambo.

The protesters also attempted to force their way into the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, but were tear gassed by security men on guard at the gate.

Speaking to newsmen, former governor of the state, Colonel Hameed Ali argued that the protest became necessary because its affects everybody.

He described the subsidy removal was an act of callousness and insensitive on the part of government , saying that when the Ghanaian government carried out a similar policy, the government ensured that palliative measures were put in place.

The former governor argued further that because of the callousness of our government, they remove the subsidy first before putting in place the palliative measures.

The fuel subsidy removal affects everybody. For my driver, it means I would have double his wages before he comes to work. If there are cabals, why cant the government prosecute them?

CRCs President, Comrade Shehu Sani roundly condemned the subsidy removal , saying that it policy was an attempt to enslave and subjugate the masses of the country. we must unite and resist it, he said.

Removal of subsidy equals to poverty, misery, hunger and death. We must defy all threats and intimidation. Posterity and the future generation of Nigeria will not forgive us if we refuse to stand up and stand firm in the defence of justice and our collective freedom, he added.

Story by Innocent Senyo (isenyo2005@yahoo.com)

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