Organised Labour in Nigeria has said they are ready for war and threatened to shut down the country if the National Assembly does not rescind its plan to remove minimum wage from the exclusive bill.
A coalition of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), and several other groups staged coordinated protests across several states in the country to express their dissent over the plan.
Hundreds of Nigerian workers on Wednesday held a nationwide protest in different states resisting the proposed removal of the minimum wage, hike in fuel and electricity prices, high rate of unemployment, amongst others.
“As organised labour, we are ready to resist that bill, shut down the National assembly and if need be, shut down the entire nation for this course. This is what we are saying in clear terms, unequivocally and we are not mincing words,” Gbenga Ekundayo, the Lagos state Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) said.
According to Ekundayo, the country should prepare for a “mega strike” and intense protests if lawmakers carry on with their plan.
Funmi Sessi, the Lagos State Chapter Chairperson of NLC, said the organised Labour will do everything to resist the bill that aims to remove minimum wage from the exclusive list and sponsored by Senator Mohammed Dati.
“The organised sectors have been talking about jaw jaw and not war war, but with that bill, if the National Assembly members do not do the needful and just step it down, this will be the beginning of the war.
“We are sitting on the keg of gunpowder in Nigeria. People are hungry, people are tired, people are angry. They are taking all the rights and privileges from us, flaunt wealth in our faces, throw our money around and corruptly enriching themselves and their children. We are ready for war,” she said.
Mrs Sessi said what the country witnessed during the #EndSARS protests is a child’s play and described the senator who sponsored the bill as a wicked man.
“That senator, (Mohammed Dati), is a wicked man and people from his constituency should start the process of recalling him.
“He is a very shameless and unpatriotic Nigerian for what he has done. We hate the bill he has sponsored, we want to state it categorically that they have pushed us to the wall, the masses and the workers. We will resist them with the last drop of blood in our body.
“We are beginning to be fed up in this country, what we saw during the #EndSARS is going to be like a child’s play if this bill goes on and those we call our leaders decide to see it to the third reading,” She said.
“Electricity bill is on the rise, house rent has doubled, the naira has no value, yet, these people are still against N30,000 minimum wage for a man who has four children to feed. This is the height of wickedness, this country should be ready for war,” a worker, Olugbenga Olumide said.
By Abel Ejikeme