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Osun Civil Society Groups Protest Over Economic Hardship

The protesters asked for provision of palliatives and fuel subsidy, among other demands.

Members of the Osun Civil Societies Coalition (OCSC), on Monday, thronged major streets in the capital, Oshogbo, to protest against the privations occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy.

THISDAY gathered that the protest started at the popular Ayetoro junction at 8am and terminated under Olaiya Bridge, in Osogbo.

Led by the chairman of the coalition, Waheed Lawal, the protest attracted many civil society groups and their affiliates in the state.

The protesters said they would not stop until their voices were heard. Part of their demands were urgent solutions to the economic hardship, an end to commercialisation of education, provision of palliatives, fuel subsidy, halt of hike in electricity tariff, and tackling of insecurity.

Speaking during the protest, Lawal said the protest was not about political party, but about the suffering of innocent Nigerians, who could hardly eat one square meal a day. He stressed that every human being deserved decent living and dignity, adding that Nigeria has been blessed by both human and natural resources. He said bad leadership was the major problem hindering the country’s development.

According to Lawal, “Every human needs food, water, clothing, shelter, and sleep, but rising cost of living is gradually taking away human dignity, to the extent that the average Nigerian cannot afford to eat twice in a day or fuel their cars anymore.

“The cost of food is high, the cost of public education is getting higher, and job opportunities are declining daily.

“The current economic hardship has pushed millions Nigerians to poverty, the middle class has fallen, the rich is getting richer and the poor getting poorer.”

Lawal, condemned the economic reforms of the federal government, saying they are strangulating Nigerians and impoverishing the poor. He called on President Bola Tinubu to rescind some of the economic policies in the interest of the poor and ordinary Nigerians.

One of the leaders of the group, Ayo Ologun, condemned the earlier proposed N8, 000 palliatives targeted at 12 million Nigerians, describing it as insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.

Ologun said, “We are calling on Mr. President to stop suffocating the poor Nigerians. Rather, he should cut down the cost of governance and be sincere in judiciously using the gains of subsidy removal to better the lives of the poor masses.”

Another member of the group, Emmanuel Olowu, dispelled rumour that hoodlums would hijack the protest planned by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday, saying such will not happen, as the suffering affects millions of Nigerians who are yearning for a better life. Olowu called on the people of the state to come out in solidarity with NLC on Wednesday, to fight a just cause.

Chuks Okocha in Abuja, Segun James in Lagos, Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan

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