Scores of workers, students, traders, and residents trooped out in Ibadan on Monday to protest against the hike in the price of petrol and other policies of the Federal Government.
The workers, who gathered at the Agodi Gate area of Ibadan, were led during the peaceful protest by human rights activist, Femi Aborisade, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond; and the National Coordinator of All Workers Convergence, Andrew Emelieze, among other unionists.
The protesters, who were armed with placards condemning the Federal Government and its policies, said Nigerians had been further impoverished by the recent hike in the electricity tariff and petrol pump price.
They said corruption by government officials made life unbearable for the masses, criticising the lack of adequate funding of the education and health sectors.
Aborisade said ASCAB was against the agreement between the NLC, TUC, and the Federal Government, saying Labour leaders ought to have briefed workers before taking that decision.
He said the Federal Government should follow the rule of law by obeying the Federal High Court judgment of 2016 against fuel price and electricity tariff hikes.
He said, ”Federal Government must reverse the electricity tariff increment and fuel pump price hike in the interest of the masses.”
Some members of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress joined the protest in solidarity.
Emelieze, who described the turnout for the protest as very impressive, told newsmen on the sideline of the protest that workers in the state on the platforms of All Workers Convergence and ASCAB; National Association of Nigerian Students, traders and artisans were out to stage the protest because they had the rights to register their displeasure.
He said Labour leaders had failed Nigerians, calling on the masses to always stand up against any attempt to trample on their rights by government, organisations, or individuals.
Emelieze, who is a past chairman of the Trade Union Congress, said, ”Although the NLC and TUC suspended their strike action, we in ASCAB, AWC, NANS, Joint Action Front, artisans, traders, and others decided to stage a protest against how the Federal Government is treating Nigerians. We also condemn national NLC and TUC for betraying Nigerians at the last minute.
“The protest is very successful because we have been able to raise the consciousness of the people as we march on the streets of Ibadan. Life has been very miserable for many Nigerians with the hike and we won’t wait till we all die before reacting.”