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News Update (January 9, 2012 10:27 AM...)

Peaceful protest over fuel subsidy removal in Akwa Ibom


Photo: Members of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) participating in anti-fuel subsidy removal protest in Lagos on 9/1/2012.

Uyo (WorldStage Newsonline)-- The nationwide protest over the removal of fuel subsidy, organized by labour groups in Akwa Ibom State under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) was peaceful on Monday.

The industrial action embarked upon by workers in the state since January 2 over the governments refusal to pay the minimum wage is still in force.

The protest over fuel subsidy removal was flagged off at the popular Ibom Plaza, formerly Ibom Connection at about 9.00am, with workers and labour union leaders marching round the major streets in Uyo, the state capital.

Led by the NLC State Chairman, Comrade Unyime Usoro and the TUC Chairman, Comrade Akamba Awak, the protesters who were sandwiched by men of the Nigeria Police Force as well as other security operatives, marched and sang solidarity songs.

Their final destination was the Government House, Uyo.

Government offices and banks remained closed as workers stayed away from work in obedience to the directive from the national NLC, and TUC.

The general atmosphere in Uyo and other major towns in the state were dull, but people went about their private business activities amid high cost of transport fares.

Comrade Usoro accused government of insincerity to the Nigerians over the issue of fuel subsidy, saying that the Federal Government was anti-people.

He said the removal of fuel subsidy had brought untold hardship to people in the state, adding that the development had further worsened the condition of civil servants in the state who were yet to be paid their minimum wage.

He said that assurances by the FG that the proceeds from the oil subsidy would be used to build key infrastructures and better the life of Nigerians were nothing but empty promises.

He maintained that the monies generated from subsidy removal would be embezzled by corrupt politicians, and therefore urged well-meaning Nigerians to resist the removal of subsidy.

At the Government House, the protesters were received by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Nsima Ekere. He urged them to exercise restraint in their protest over the fuel subsidy removal, adding that they should not allow hoodlums to hijack the protest and use it to cause violence.

Ekere said the FGs decision to remove fuel subsidy was good-intentioned and that government will be sincere in its promises to use the proceeds for from the subsidy to better the lot of Nigerians.

Story by Abel Krabee (akrabee4u@yahoo.com)

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