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News Update (January 9, 2012 12:33 PM...)

Labour lauds Nigerians over successful fuel subsidy protest in Lagos


Photo: Protesters in Lagos on 9/1/2012

Lagos (WorldStage Newsonline)-- Organised labour and civil society ally on Monday lauded Nigerians for their participation in the protests against fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government.

The workers stated that the masses' compliance to the strike also was an indication that they were not in support of the policy, adding that it was unreasonable for the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration to have increased the price of fuel by more than a hundred percent.

The strike kicked off from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) headquarters, Yaba, Lagos around 7:00am through Ojuelegba, Anthony-Ikorodu road and terminated at the Gani Fawehinmi's Garden, Ojota with several burn fires on the road.

The protest was peaceful, but an overzealous Divisional Police Officer in charge of Pen Cinema Police Station, Mr Victor Okafor shot a peaceful protesters at Aderinto Street, off Thomas Salako street, Ogba, killing one 26 years old Demola.The vehicle number Mr. Okafor used was RRS 101 LA.

Pastor Tunde Bakare of Save Nigeria Group in his address at the rally said, the policy was ill-timed and a deliberate attempt further impoverish Nigerians.

According to him, ''As far as I am concerned they have already shared the money before removing the subsidy. The Goodluck-led administration must take into cognisance that the masses of this country can no longer absorb this untold hardship brought by the removal of subsidy.''

He said successive governments have paid a lot on Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of refineries with nothing to show for it. And that all the contractors who collected the money should be brought to book.

National President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Comrade Sunday Salako said, for a policy to be beneficial to the people it must get the peoples' acceptance.

This case is an albatross as negotiation were still on before the Federal Government went ahead to remove subsidy. It is the same old story, tet no impact. The truth remains that we do not trust them any more. They have deceived us for so long. Previous policies of government has not favoured the poor masses of this country. That is why we are protesting the policy, said salako.

He charged the president to honourably reverse to the old price, go back to the negotiation table, make more consultation and build more refineries before talking of removal of subsidy. Anything short of that is unacceptable.''

Lagos Lawyer, Femi Falana said the people were angry because successive governments had denied them the benefit of democracy. And that they had resolved to revolt. He said nobody could stop the revolution.

This is the beginning of the struggle. We have got to the stage where we have to reveal their lies. Central Bank Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi said if they dont remove subsidy, Nigeria will collapse. But he also told me that he could not remember when last he bought fuel. He didnt know because he himself is being subsidised This is the beginning of the struggle for revolution in Nigeria. Dont be tired. It is a sacrifice. No freedom is won on a platter of gold. Be ready to sleep here for as long as possible. I can assure you, you would get your freedom.

General Secretary of Construction Union, Comrade Tunde Liadi said that Nigerians should not be made to pay for government's inefficiency.

It is not only the energy sector that is in comatose. The infrastructure, roads, unemployment also need to be attended to. We cannot be making so much money without anything to show for it. The more money we make, the poorer Nigerians get. This must stop.

Liadi lamented that government over the years had been insincere and unfair to the masses of the country. He charged government to be bold enough to prosecute the cabal that were making the oil and gas sector unprofitable to Nigerians.

Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Deputy Chairman, Lagos State, Comrade Adeshina Adedoyin while condemning the policy insisted that the welfare of the masses remained paramount to the organised labour hence the protest was embarked upon.

He said that the leadership of labour could not afford to betray the trust reposed on it by the masses neither will it betray the workers.

He added that majority of the teachers in Lagos lived outside the state, adding that with the recent hike, it will be very expensive for to come to work.

This will further cause more problem for the decayed education sector.

Amalgamated Union's Lagos State Chairman, Engr. Muali Subair on his part said that the policy was satanic and had no human face.

Total reversal is what we want. No more, no less, he said.

Chief Executive Officer of Ovation Magazine, Chief Dele Momodu said: We no longer wish to remain slaves in our country. We want reversal.

Ganiyat Fawehinmi, wife of late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, lamented that all the things her husband fought against had started resurfacing.

There had never been anything like subsidy in the country. What has been happening is that the poor have been subsidising the rich, making richest people in the world. All these must stop. We know all their tricks now and that must stop for if the country must move forward, she said.

By Prince Okedinachi (pokedinachi@yahoo.com)

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