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 Senate Engages Aggrieved Unions After Protesters Pull Down NASS Gate

The Senate set up a committee led by Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, from Borno South Senatorial District to engage the protesters.

L-R: Senator Tony Nwonye; Senator Ireti Kingibe; Senator Ali Ndume; TUC President, Festus Osifo; and NLC President, Joe Ajaero in a joint address to protesters at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja on Wednesday, August 2, 2023. Photo: Channels TV/Linda Akhigbe

By Kayode Oyero

The Senate, on Wednesday, set up a committee to dialogue with protesting unions who broke down the National Assembly Complex first gate.

The protesters in their hundreds had marched from the Unity Fountain in Abuja to the NASS Complex in demonstration against the “anti-poor” people policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration.

Upon their arrival at the NASS Complex, the protesters pull down the first gate of the Complex and marched to the premises.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio immediately entered into a closed-door session with the lawmakers and upon his emergence from the meeting said the red chamber has set up a three-man committee to meet with the protesters at the National Assembly.

The committee was led by Senate Chief Whip, Ali Ndume, from Borno South Senatorial District.

The Senate also resolved that it will in the shortest possible time meet with the NLC and TUC leadership to find an amicable resolution to the current impasse.

Ndume alongside two other lawmakers — Senator Ireti Kingibe and Senator Tony Nwonye — later met with the protesters at the National Assembly.

The Senators were seen engaging Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Joe Ajaero; and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Festus Osifo.

The Organised Labour including the NLC, the TUC and their affiliate unions, today, kicked off a protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and other states of the Federation including Lagos, Abia, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Zamfara, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kwara, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, and Edo.

Tinubu had removed subsidy on petrol during his epic inauguration speech on May 29, 2023, with a litre of the petrol jumping from N184 to over N620 and food prices and general inflation galloping at an unprecedented rate.

Last week, the NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and demanded “the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government including the recent hike in PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers”.

The union also demanded an upward review of the minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000, saying that since the President’s “subsidy is gone” inauguration speech of May 29, 2023, the peace of mind of Nigerians has gone.

Several meetings between the Presidency and the unions on palliatives for Nigerians suffering hardship in the wake of the petrol subsidy removal proved abortive.

Channels Inc Ltd.

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