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No Going Back On Nationwide Protest, Labour Replies DSS

The leadership of the organised labour on Wednesday took a swipe at the Department of State Services (DSS) over its warning that the movement should shelve its proposed protest billed to hold February 27 and 28.

The secret police had earlier counseled the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and its counterpart from Trade Union Congress (TUC) to rescind their decision, saying the plea was in the interest of the country.

But reacting to the DSS’ warning, the president of NLC, Joe Ajaero, said the secret police should not blackmail the organised labour and arrest those that want to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence as claimed.

Ajaero said history would not forgive the labour movement and its leadership if it sits idly and allows the current hardship to continue festering due to non-chalant attitude of the Nigerian government and its officials.

The labour leader, who described the forthcoming action as “peaceful protest against unpardonable cost of living”, added that the Congress would not fold its arm while Nigerians continue to live in penury.

“We are concerned by the unsolicited advice of the Department of State Security to shelve our planned protest against the unprecedented high cost of living in spite of the indescribable suffering in the land, spiralling inflation, deepening poverty and the Naira at an exchange rate of N1,900 to the US Dollar.

“According to the Service, the planned protest should be shelved “in the interest of peace and public order”, pre-supposing that the action is intended to be violent and disruptive even when we have a history of peaceful protests.

“More worrying is the new role the Service has assigned to itself, the chief spokes person of the government.

“According to the Service, “It is common knowledge that all levels of Government are striving to ameliorate the prevailing economic condition and as such, should be given a benefit of the doubt, So far, appropriate authorities are working assiduously with a spectrum of stakeholders to fashion out modalities to address the current difficulties”.

“We are equally worried that although the “Service is aware that some elements are planning to use the opportunity of the protest to foment crisis and by extension, widespread violence”, and yet have not executed the arrest of these elements.

“We are equally intrigued by the innuendos of the Service, their philosophy of “peace” and wild allegations and we want to reassure them that no one loves this country more than us and on our honour, we would never do anything that will compromise its sovereignty or security.

“Having said this, we would not have ourselves blackmailed or lied against by the Service. Our protest is a peaceful one against the unpardonable cost of living of which the unserviced personnel of the Service are also victims. We cannot fold our hands and pretend all is well. That will be a grievous conspiracy that history will not forgive.”

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