Workers in Imo State have called on President Bola Tinubu to reconsider the removal of fuel subsidy and the increase in fees for unity schools and tertiary institutions. The call was made during a press conference held in Owerri on Wednesday, as part of a nationwide protest organized by various labor unions.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) initiated the nationwide protest to express their opposition to the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government under President Bola Tinubu’s leadership.
In Owerri, the capital of Imo State, the popular Assumpta Cathedral roundabout and control post, which were scheduled venues for the protest, were taken over by security operatives.
During the protest, the workers displayed placards with messages such as “Let Nigerians Breathe,” “Fuel Price Increase Suffocating The Poor,” and “Naira Devaluation Killing Local Industries and Jobs,” among others.
Dr. George Ogoegbu, the Acting Chairman of the NLC in Imo, appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider its recent economic policies. The workers demanded action on issues such as refinery rehabilitation, payment of eight months’ salary arrears owed to university workers, reduction in VAT, and lowering of school fees for unity colleges and tertiary institutions.
The protest in Imo State was part of a collective effort by workers across the country to voice their concerns and urge the government to address the economic challenges faced by the citizens.
He said, “We urge Mr President to keep faith with the agreement entered by the Federal Government, NLC and TUC. We cannot continue to suffer; let the poor masses breathe.
“Nigerian workers are one of the least paid in the world. We cannot fuel our vehicles. The cost of living is alarming and we can no longer continue this way”, he said.
Also, the Secretary of the TUC in Imo, Mr. Benjamin Ezekwe, questioned the motives behind the removal of fuel subsidy without concrete plans to ameliorate the sufferings of Nigerians.
He called on the Federal Government to desist from making promises and swing into action without delay, adding that the long wait for a remedy since May 29 has become exhausting.
“The President of a country ameliorates the suffering of the masses, not otherwise but a majority of President Tinubu’s policies have brought suffering upon Nigerians and we the workers can no longer continue to suffer in silence.
“We challenge Mr. President; if he is not coerced into being our president to revisit his policies without delay and ease our suffering. Procrastination is the thief of time “, he said.