Labor unions protest across Nigeria over high cost of living

Thousands of workers and members of Nigerian labor unions demonstrated across the country on Wednesday to protest the government’s withdrawal of petroleum subsidies, which has caused food and other commodity prices to skyrocket, making people’s lives increasingly expensive.

Workers from the public and private sectors staged protest rallies in the capital Abuja and major cities across 36 states, urging Nigerian President Bola Tinubu to take steps to improve the social welfare of the working class and alleviate their hardship.

Nigeria Labour Congress President Joe Ojaero said in his address to rally participants in Abuja that the government has failed to take measures to address inflation and economic hardship following the removal of petroleum product subsidies.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for Nigerians, and the government has not shown enough commitment to addressing the economic hardship inflicted on the people by the removal of subsidies,” the union leader said.

During the march to the National Assembly complex, which was led by Ojaero, protesters were surrounded by dozens of anti-riot and secret police.

“Cash transfers to families from foreign loans will not solve the problem. The government should develop genuine long-term measures,” one of the protesters, Vincent Oni, told Anadolu.

Protesters insisted that the president’s palliative measures did not provide a long-term solution.

“Increase in wages will not solve the current economic hardship of the people due to the high cost of foods, medicines, transportation, and other things,” said Mamman Bukar, leader of a labor union in northeast Borno State, told Anadolu, urging the government to improve the economy.

Earlier on Tuesday, the president’s chief of staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, appealed to labor unions and Nigerians, saying the government’s palliative measures would cushion the impact of the subsidy removal on citizens.

President Bola Tinubu also addressed the nation on Monday and announced several measures to alleviate economic hardships, including the purchase of buses to reduce transportation costs, the implementation of cash transfers to households, and the distribution of food across states.

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